In the first deal of its kind for the country, the Israel Electric Company (IEC) signed an agreement on Sunday with Gihon, Jerusalem's water and sewage firm, to purchase electricity generated from bio-gas resulting from the treatment of solid waste. The electricity will come from a facility in Nahal Sorek run by the Jerusalem Sewage Treatment Factory (Mabti), a Gihon subsidiary. The plant currently produces 1.8 MW of electricity and consumes 1.2 MW for its own use. The extra 0.6 MW will be sold to the IEC for NIS 1.1 million. "It will produce enough electricity to light between 1,000 and 1,500 homes," Mabti CEO Yisrael Bar-Gil said at a press conference Sunday at the IEC's Jerusalem District office. "We can eventually produce up to 50 percent more." Bar-Gil added that Mabti had a license to generate up to 2.5 MW for 20 years, with an option to renew for another 10. Eitan Parnass, head of the Association of Renewable Energy Companies in Israel, noted that "unlike wind or solar [energy], where storage is a problem, the gas can be stored for electricity production whenever needed." The deal could set a precedent for sewage treatment plants up and down the country. Bar-Gil said Mabti had an additional plan to generate power. "We want to run treated sewage water through a pipe," he said. "There's a 400 meter drop off along the way [down to the coastal plain], and we want to generate electricity from that height difference." Ika Yachin, IEC's Jerusalem District head, welcomed the Mabti initiative. "In the next few years, the country will be facing a severe shortage [of electricity]," Yachin said. "So we welcome all private producers and all green initiatives. This project is unique and pioneering." Iris Ben-Shahal, IEC's Jerusalem District spokeswoman, said a recent change in regulations had permitted Gihon to produce electricity, something the company had long wanted to do.