Industrialized Haifa Bay, the potential ‘Israeli Riviera,’ seen from the lower slopes of Hadar.
(photo credit: WENDY BLUMFIELD)
A push to energy efficiency could save the economy NIS 30 billion, the government said on Sunday, following its approval of a national program to reduce greenhouse gases and improve energy efficiency.
The program is meant to meet Israel’s goals that were set at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December.
At the time, leaders from almost 200 countries adopted a universal climate agreement to minimize global warming by curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the budget for the initiative is pending additional government approval, something that has drawn the ire of environmental groups.
Amit Bracha, executive director of Adam Teva V’Din – Israel Union for Environmental Defense, said that “a program without a set budget is not a real program.”
He said that his group will continue to demand that the High Court order the government to fulfill its energy efficiency pledges made in 2011.
However, the plan entails NIS 500 million in state loans to improve energy efficiency and NIS 300m.
in grants to energy-efficiency projects in the industrial, financial and municipal sectors, according to the Energy, Infrastructure and Water Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry. An emphasis, the ministries said, will be placed on helping small and medium-sized businesses and small municipalities.
Under the targets, Israel aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030, in comparison with levels in 2005 – limiting residents to 7.7 tons of carbon dioxide per capita. The plan also entails having 17% of electricity generated from renewable energy resources by 2030, as well as reducing electricity consumption by the same percentage.
The plan includes a long-term program that aims to eliminate red tape and quotas that have hampered the renewable and clean-tech sector’s integration into the Israeli energy market. A team dedicated to the matter will draw up plans to break down bureaucratic barriers and provide tax incentives for using renewable energy and energy-efficient devices and for energy-efficient construction projects.
The overall initiative help the country meet the climate targets, and save the economy NIS 30b., the ministries said, without specifying over how many years.
One major way to cut greenhouse emissions and air pollution is to generate more electricity from natural gas, according to the government.
At the moment, plans to develop the 621-bcm offshore Leviathan reservoir have been put on hold after the High Court of Justice struck down as unconstitutional the government’s framework for the natural gas sector over a clause that would have promised fixed market prices and regulations to gas companies for the next 10 years.