National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau_311.
(photo credit: Courtesy National Infrastructures Ministry)
Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau stressed on Tuesday that his ministry
cannot intervene to change electricity tariffs, as such actions are solely the
responsibility of the Finance Ministry and the Public Utility
Landau discussed electricity prices while touring the site of
Israel’s largest private power plant, which is now under construction by the
Dorad Energy company, south of Ashkelon. The plant will have a capacity of about
800 megawatts – equivalent to about 7 percent of the country’s total consumption
– and is slated to begin running during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to
the Energy and Water Ministry.
“The Dorad power station will increase the
electricity reserves and the reliability of electricity supply to residents of
the State of Israel,” Landau said in a statement released by his office. “To
visit here and to see the establishment of the station and the many advancements
that have been achieved lately is a triumph of determination over
Landau added that he hoped the Dorad power plant would
begin filling in energy gaps by the summer of 2013.
Just the day before,
the minister had met with other relevant officials to discuss the need for
backup fuel sources and significant reductions in public electricity consumption
for this coming summer – in the wake of a dwindling natural gas
Landau met on Monday morning with the inter-ministerial steering
committee that handles all elements of the energy market, and includes senior
officials from his ministry, the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Finance
Ministry, the Public Utility Authority, the Natural Gas Authority, Israel
Electric Corporation, Petroleum and Energy Infrastructures and Israel Natural
Gas Lines. The committee is chaired by Dr. Yehuda Niv, head of the Energy and
Water Ministry’s Electricity Administration, and meets once every two weeks to
discussion solutions for the anticipated electricity shortage.
Monday meeting, the group discussed the necessity to employ backup fuels this
summer in order to supplement natural gas, something that will require the
Environmental Protection Ministry’s approval, according to the Energy and Water
Ministry. They also spoke about the use of mobile gas turbines, which could be
used in emergencies and on an as-needed basis, as well as the use of private
power sources. Emphasizing the importance of overall demand reduction, the
officials also discussed the possibility of creating incentives for people to
reduce consumption during peak hours – such as instituting lower electricity
tariffs during lower usage periods, the ministry said.
Sunday night, Landau had met with four former energy and water ministers in
order to discuss the same problem – the electricity supply shortages expected to
occur this summer. The ministers were unanimous about the reasons for the
drought, concluding that bad government decisions – and sometimes the lack
thereof – were responsible for the present problem, according to the ministry.