Planning Council approves new natural gas, coal plant

The National Council for Planning and Building of the Interior Ministry approved a plan to establish a dual-fueled natural gas and coal power plant at the Rotenberg site in Ashkelon, the ministry announced on Tuesday.
With a total capacity of 1,260 megawatts, the plant will primarily run on natural gas and will use coal only as a back up, the ministry said in a statement. The decision came after the National Infrastructures Ministry presented a report to the council about the prospective plant, detailing the necessity for the boost in national electricity production and stressing that coal would only be used as a back up in specific situations, according to the ministry. The Rotenberg site was chosen due to its proximity to coal sources and to the natural gas line, the statement said.
Green group Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam Teva v’Din) executive director, Amit Bracha, protested the decision, saying that there must be a stipulation that coal be used only in emergency, and that this new plant “will cause health hazards to residents of Ashkelon and the area.”