Israel may be at the forefront of the international clean energy movement, but when it comes to the Jewish homeland the government is trailing far behind, environmental organizations said Wednesday.
As the Knesset nears the homestretch of its summer recess, a number of environmental organizations have drafted bills to advance renewable energy in the hopes that their legislation will make Israel a cleaner place.
Renewable energy utilizes resources that are naturally replenished, such as sunlight, wind, water and geothermal heat. Israel has long been a leader in the field, with the company Ormat exporting its renewable energy expertise to a number of countries. When it comes to its domestic energy policies, however, Israel has a dearth of renewable energy legislation.
"In order to encourage environmentally friendly advancements in Israel, there must be more legislation to advance environmental policies," said MK Dov Henin (Hadash).
Henin already sits on a subcommittee of the Knesset's Committee on the Interior and the Environment that is drafting a Clean Air Bill for Israel. While that bill will require that industries adopt some clean energy policies to minimize air pollution, it will fall short of the type of sweeping reforms that environmental organizations want to see initiated to support renewable energy.
A number of environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, have been drafting their own renewable energy legislation that they plan to present to MKs at the start of the next Knesset session in October. The MKs would then propose the legislation as their own private member's bills.
While none of the organizations are prepared to publicize their current drafts, most call for work on a solar energy plant or some other clean energy facility to be sponsored by the government.
There have been disagreements between the various organizations over where to build the plant and how much to spend on its construction. Most of the organizations asked not to be named until they were ready to publicly propose the legislation.