Israel gets ‘energy efficiency center’ with European aid

A 700,000 euro grant from Europe Aid, the Local Energy Center will provide expert assistance to local authorities, conduct energy audits.

By EHUD ZION WALDOKS
January 17, 2011 02:26
1 minute read.
An electrical power grid.

electrical gird 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The “Local Energy Center” was launched Sunday to help local authorities reduce their electricity usage by becoming more efficient.

Energy efficiency is considered the cheapest and fastest way to reduce the stress on the grid without having to build new power stations. It has been gaining traction both here and abroad.

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Thanks to a 700,000 euro grant from Europe Aid, the Local Energy Center will provide expert assistance to local authorities, conduct energy audits and accompany them throughout the entire process. It will also encourage more local authorities to join sustainability initiatives, according to Orly Ronen-Rotem, deputy director of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership and director of the Local Sustainability Center, an initiative which emerged out of the Heschel Center.

Eighteen municipalities have already signed an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases. Forty five municipalities also signed on to the “Environment Tag” program, which is designed to streamline electricity, water and waste. Launched at the end of 2010 by the local authorities in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Ministry, it is the basic blueprint for such initiatives at the local level.

The new Local Energy Center will choose some of those municipalities and assist them in creating their action plans.

Milka Carmel, environmental consultant to the Union of Local Authorities in Israel (ULIA), praised the national focus on energy efficiency and declared that it was time energy efficiency was introduced at the local level where it could have a clear and measurable impact.

The center is a joint initiative of the ULIA, the Local Sustainability Center, the Heschel Center and The Israel Energy Forum.

Electricity demand in Israel is rising about 4 percent every year. The National Infrastructures Ministry has launched a national plan to reduce demand by 20% by 2020, not least because each summer, rolling blackouts loom because of a lack of capacity.

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