Electricity lines 390.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
If the nation’s largest industries and institutions can decrease their energy
usage by 10 percent, Israel might be able to avoid the energy crisis and
blackouts expected to occur this summer, Energy and Water Ministry
representatives told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
The officials were
speaking to the Post on the sidelines of the Eilat-Eilot Forum on Renewable
Energy Policy, a prequel to the larger annual Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy
Conference that will occur this year in November.
During a series of
workshops the day before, the ministry’s chief of staff, Smadar Bat- Adam, led
one of the groups in devising strategies on energy efficiency and integrating
smart grids that monitor electricity usage into homes.
“I challenge the
industry and big institutions to try and do whatever they can to decrease their
use of energy of electricity by 10%,” Bat-Adam told the Post
, noting that
industrial usages account for 25% of Israel’s energy consumption.
they will reach this target, we might not have the crisis that we expect for the
If drastic efforts such as this do not occur, the country will
continue facing a “big problem,” she explained.
In order to really
achieve long-term energy efficiency, however, Bat-Adam said that the entire
public attitude must change – a task that is not easy.
“People are stuck
in a state of mind,” she said, noting that members of the public need to realize
that they can save – and even earn – money through conservation.
offices in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, for example, the ministry invested NIS
100,000 in installing lights that sense motion and shut off automatically when a
room is empty. Thus far, the ministry has been saving NIS 17,000 every quarter,
and has now begun to earn a profit, she explained.
efficiency, we know that we need to change this way of thinking,” Bat-Adam said.
“We need to give the public more information and we need to give incentives to
One such incentive the ministry is currently providing
includes subsidized refrigerator and air-conditioner replacements as well as
fluorescent lightbulbs at steep discounts. In response, stores that sell
fluorescent lightbulbs other than the subsidized packages have now actually
starting reducing their bulb prices in order to keep up with the competition,
according to Chen Ben-Lulu, the media adviser to the minister.
everyone in the market heard that our ministry was going into this deal and
bringing 1.5 million lightbulbs into the market, that influenced everyone else
to lower their prices,” he said.
Another innovation that will eventually
provide for more energy efficiency will be smart grids, electronic monitoring
boards in both institutions and people’s homes that will allow customers to see
how much energy they are consuming and how much they are spending, according to
Bat-Adam. However, many Israelis are somewhat hesitant to have these in their
homes, as it will be another “Big Brother” type of element watching over them,
“The smart grid is kind of another Big Brother than can
watch your habits at your home and not only watch but also interfere by
decreasing some of your usages,” she said.
The Israel Electric
Corporation and the ministry are now conducting a pilot program with smart grids
for 3,000 customers in Binyamina, and Bat- Adam said she hopes the systems will
be ready and affordable enough to install in the general public’s homes in four
to five years.
Technically, she explained, the smart grid could
automatically adjust the temperature in your home, for example. But Bat-Adam
said that she envisions smart grids operating more through the customer’s
control, rather than through pure automation.
“We wanted to put the
customer in the center,” she said.
“So when you have this board that lets
you know every hour if you use your dishwasher now it would cost you NIS 8, but
if you do it later it might cost you NIS 4, it would be like shopping – you can
decide. This might help you change your habits.”
“We are talking about
turning the Big Brother into a big family – a sharing relationship,” she added.