Energy, Water Minister Uzi Landau at press conference_390.
(photo credit: Gidon Sharon)
Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau launched a massive informational campaign
to save energy, as the country is likely to face electricity blackouts during
the summer months.
“The danger of power outages is extremely high in the
case of any failure whatsoever at a power plant, and therefore during peak
consumption hours,” Landau told journalists at a press conference in Tel Aviv
Wednesday. “During the coming summer there will be days when Israel is likely to
find itself with a reserve of only 2-3 percent.”
The minister, in part,
blamed other government officials for the low reserve, who are outside the realm
of the energy market, but initially objected to the establishment of a
dual-fueled natural gas and coal power plant in Ashkelon (Takhana D), which could
have “on its own prevented the current situation,” according to
Referring to Takhana D, Landau stressed that the power plant must
be backed up by coal, despite objections from the Environmental Protection
Ministry. Claiming that the Environment Ministry acts as the more “popular”
government body, he said his ministry instead does “what needs to be
In response to Landau’s assessment, the Environmental Protection
Ministry criticized the Energy and Water Ministry for failing to systematically
plan the future of the country’s electricity supply with a long term,
Meanwhile, the Environment Ministry argued that
past attempts by the Energy and Water Ministry to design power stations without
environmental considerations have also brought about the power
As far as Takhana D is concerned, the Environment Ministry came
to an agreement with the Energy and Water Ministry over a year ago about an
emergency coal backup for the plant, yet the station is still delayed, the
Landau, however, stressed at the press conference that the
ministry has done its utmost, and continues to do so, to prevent a crisis, by,
for example, paving the way for private-electricity production.
currently 1,300 megawatts worth of private-electricity production under
construction, and 3,400 megawatts more will be coming soon, according to
In addition to the private electricity supply, the ministry also
intends to increase production supply by bringing in more portable generators of
25 megawatts each, for a total of between 200-250 megawatts.
there are 200 megawatts coming to the Israeli grid from renewable sources, the
“This isn’t much, but do you know how much there was
three years ago? Zero,” Landau said.
Shaul Zemach, ministry
director-general, and Smadar Bat Adam, ministry chief of staff presented
ministry projects that intend to increase awareness and bring energy savings,
such as the newly subsidized fluorescent light-bulb packages available to
consumers and the old refrigerator and air-conditioner exchanges, which will be
The refrigerator-replacement project, an NIS 50 million
investment on the ministry’s part, is slated to begin shortly after Passover,
while the NIS 10m. project for air-conditioner exchanges will begin in
All of these projects, as well as the widespread informational
outreach encouraging the public to save electricity, will contribute to Israel’s
goals of achieving a 20% reduction in electricity consumption by 2020, the
ministry officials agreed.
This summer, however, peak-capacity production
will be 12,880 megawatts, while expected demand will be about 12,370 megawatts –
leaving only a reserve of about 510 megawatts, according to Yehuda Niv,
commissioner of the ministry’s Electricity Authority.
“In order to get
through the summer in peace, every one of us must contribute,” Landau said.
“Take part in the effort – this is the reason we launched today this massive
campaign and will continue with the subject, and we believe that it will
convince the public to avoid establishing a power plant. This is in our
hands. Together, in joint forces, we can do this.”