Power plant (illustrative)..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The West Bank may soon have its own power plant, after the government reportedly gave its approval on Wednesday.
According to a report by Palestinian news agency Ma’an, quoting the coordinator of government activities in the territories, the plant would be built in Jenin’s industrial zone and be able to produce 450 megawatts of electricity through natural gas power.
Currently, the Israel Electric Corporation provides around 650 MW of electricity to the West Bank and 120 MW to the Gaza Strip.
It noted that the electricity from a Jenin plant would supplement the current supply.
Mohammad Mustafa, chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, which is spearheading the initiative, was quoted in the report as saying the power plant could supply half of the electricity demand for the West Bank. He added that electricity could start flowing by the end of 2019. This coincides with the estimated date for Israel’s offshore Leviathan reservoir to begin supplying natural gas to customers.
Furthermore, the IEC in a statement expressed interest in having a central role in the planning and implementing of the project, working with “whatever company the PPGC [Palestine Power Generation Co.] chooses” to build the plant, through the IEC’s engineering projects and business development division.
Still, Mustafa said that “no Israeli companies have been contracted for the construction of the station or for providing gas.” He estimated the plant’s construction to cost $620 million.
In January 2014, the PPGC agreed to buy around 4.75 billion cubic meters of natural gas for a period of 20 years, to fuel a future, 200 MW power plant. However, the company canceled the deal in March 2015.
Once it is up and running, the power plant may serve to alleviate some of the pressure from a NIS 1.74 billion debt the Palestinian Authority owes the IEC for providing power to the West Bank. In the past two weeks, the company halved power to parts of the West Bank due to the enormous debt. It was restored on April 6 after a short-term payment plan was negotiated, and NIS 20m. of the debt was paid.