Greenpeace: End fuel subsidies, set binding targets

Israel can reduce power demand significantly in the coming years and help avert the effects of climate change, according to new report.

wind turbines, renewable energy 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
wind turbines, renewable energy 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
By methodically phasing out subsidies for polluting fuels and setting legally binding targets for renewable energy, Israel can reduce its power demand significantly in the coming years and help avert the effects of climate change, according to a new Greenpeace report released for Earth Day.
Titled “Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable Israel Energy Outlook,” the report was written by lead author and project manager Sven Teske, director of Greenpeace International’s renewable energy campaign.
Among the international list of researchers and co-authors were Israelis Dr. Amit Mor and Shimon Shimon, from the firm Eco Energy Ltd.
Globally, there is an expert consensus that a “fundamental shift” in the way people consume and produce energy needs to occur immediately, in order to thwart the potentially negative impacts of climate change, the report says.
In order to accomplish this task, countries will need to implement more renewable and decentralized electricity solutions under the framework of what Greenpeace calls an “Energy [R]evolution,” the authors note.
The authors found that in 2009 renewable energy sources accounted for 5 percent of Israel’s overall energy demand, largely from solar panels. While covering 39% of the country’s heat energy supply – among the highest figures in the world – renewable sources accounted for only 0.2% of electricity generation – among the lowest figures in the world.
Israel can achieve a true “Energy [R]evolution” by embarking upon a number of paths, first and foremost by curbing energy demand and power demand by introducing innovative and efficient electronic devices and using the best available technology across all sectors, the report explains.
Likewise, heating demand can be reduced significantly by designing buildings in such a way that they leave behind a very low ecological footprint.
As far as electricity generation goes, a growing renewable energy market will be able to phase out the use of coal power plants in Israel as well as reduce the number of gas-fired plants, leading to grid stabilization, the authors write.
A key change moving forward according will be incentives to drive smaller cars, as well as more efficient public transportation, the authors say. Israel also should be capable of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions from 63 million tons in 2009 to 26 million tons in 2050.
In order to make an Energy [R]evolution possible, Greenpeace – along with the Global Wind Energy Council and the European Renewable Energy Council – have recommended that Israel make several policy changes, including phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy and mandating strict efficiency standards for energy-consuming appliances.
In addition, the government must establish legally binding targets for renewable energy power and heat generation, reform the electricity markets by guaranteeing priority access to the grid to renewable power generators and provide stable feed-in tariffs to encourage investors, the authors write.
The Energy and Water Ministry said it would need to study the report before commenting.