Better energy: Eight goals for the next energy minister

Spread the innovation Israeli water and green energy technologies and strategies are some of the best in the world.

By
December 18, 2014 22:14
3 minute read.
Solar power

Solar power. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The festival of lights is also a celebration of oil. But let’s not take away the wrong lessons from the miracle of the oil lasting longer than expected. With elections coming up, here are eight antioil and visionary actions the next minister of energy and water should undertake for the good of Israel, its neighbors and the world.

Free EV charge network Oil and gasoline drive the carbon footprint of our transportation sector, from private cars to buses and trucks. The next energy minister should establish a national, free fast-charge electric vehicle network, from Egged to company fleets to personal cars, using a small percentage of the proceeds to the state from the natural-gas profits. This will accelerate the switch to electric vehicles and lower the cost of living for those who make this eco-friendly move.

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20% renewables by 2020 and 50% by 2030 The last government killed the first iteration of the electric car, and drove out of the country or out of business most solar energy companies. Our cowardly goal of 10 percent renewables by 2020 is a distant dream, as the country only gets 1.5% of its power from clean energy.

The next energy minister should shift the goal posts to the European Union standard of 20% renewables by 2020, and blow away all international standards by being fueled 100% during the day by solar by 2030. The Eilat-Eilot region will have accomplished that goal by the end of 2016, and the state should adopt that standard for the rest of the country.

Lift the solar and wind quotas The electricity regulator has placed artificial and stifling quotas to prevent the growth of the renewables sector. The government approved the Kendel Report, which establishes the same price for electricity from natural gas as from solar energy.

Even so, the regulator is now demanding that for solar generation to continue, it has to come in cheaper than natural gas. Foul.

Lift the artificial quotas on solar and wind as long as their prices match the Kendel Report figures.



Open the market to green energy.

End the oil fantasies The Jerusalem District Regional Planning Board recently voted 10-2 to shut down the proposed shale oil site in the Elah Valley – a major victory for environmentalism and against oil. The shale oil folks are getting close to receiving permission to perpetuate their work on the Golan. Israel should reject all new oil schemes, thus helping to fulfill our global citizenship obligations under the UN climate agreements struck in Lima last week.

Shut the pipeline The oil disaster in the Arava should serve as a wake-up call to cease depending on 20th century- thinking and infrastructure for energy. Convert the entire pipeline into the world’s longest solar installation; there is enough land there to power 8% of the country’s power needs or an electric charging network for 800,000 electric cars, which is about 40% of the vehicles on the road.

Spread the innovation Israeli water and green energy technologies and strategies are some of the best in the world.

The ministry should coordinate grants for Israeli water and green energy companies to explore exporting opportunities to developing countries.

Invest in storage California is seeking bids for large-scale energy storage of renewables and so should Israel.

With 60% of our country desert and super sunny, this would enable Israel to store solar power during the day and use it at night.

Share water The increased rainfall in Israel means that our desalination plants are only working at 70% of their capacity, even though the taxpayer and customer base is paying for 100%. Run the desalination plants at full capacity, refill Lake Kinneret and generously share the excess water with our Palestinian and Jordanian neighbors.

Hanukka is a good time to rededicate ourselves as a country to becoming, finally, a renewable light unto the nations.

Yosef I. Abramowitz, a co-founder of Israel’s solar industry, serves as CEO of Energiya Global Capital and is not running for Knesset, unless...

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