Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by David Williams
The United States is far from the only country that is going all-in on renewable energy sources in the next few years. Middle Eastern country Israel has decided to set its sights on achieving certain renewable energy goals as well, and it aims to rely on only natural gas and electric sources by the year 2030.
This plan was revealed by Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz at a recently concluded energy conference held in Tel Aviv. In his view, it should be possible to hit all of their renewable energy goals within the next 12 years or sooner, as Israel moves to switch from coal-based sources to more environmentally friendly alternatives in the production of valuable electricity.
According to Steinitz, Israel is now ready to drop its current energy sources and never look back. “We intend to reach a situation in which Israel’s industry will be based on natural gas, and most importantly, transportation in Israel will be based on natural gas or electricity,” he explained. “From 2030 onwards, the State of Israel will create alternatives and will no longer allow the import of cars that run on gasoline and diesel fuel.”
This new initiative signifies a dramatic shift away from the notion that renewable energy sources can be tapped while still keeping current fuel sources active and in operation. Just a few years ago, in 2014, half of all the electricity produced in Israel came from coal sources while the other half came from natural gas. Now, their new plan aims to hit 83 percent natural gas and 17 percent renewable energy, noting that they should produce “zero pollutant” along the way, said Steinitz.
The Energy Minister also mentioned this change directly in saying, “We have abolished the strategy of diversification of fuels.” He said that the decision to focus fully on renewable energy sources came from the realization that it’s possible for them to reach energy security even without the diversification that still involves the use of coal-based sources.
Israel is looking at more than just cost-savings as part of its move to switch to renewables. One non-monetary benefit would be the reduction of deaths due to air pollution, which the official number pegs at around 2,500 people each year. And the development of the country’s natural gas plans has led to the creation of Leviathan, the largest natural gas field in Israel. It hasn’t begun operations yet, but it has already given a number of benefits.
Steinitz credits the Leviathan for playing a key role, in improving Israel’s relations with neighboring countries Egypt and Jordan. Steinitz admitted that continued development of the field allows them to sign the “most significant export deals” they’ve ever had after signing the peace accords with them. “This strengthens the peace axis,” he said. “It is a geopolitical success that has been made possible because of natural gas.”
Not everyone is onboard with the country’s plan to move completely in favor of natural gas and electricity, however. A group of protesters has expressed its disapproval for the planned Leviathan construction, saying that instead of building that rig, companies should instead set up floating production storage and offloading facilities above it, instead of occupying all the space close to the shore of Dor Beach, where the rig will be built. But Steinitz remains steadfast, pointing out that those protesting are merely people who adhere to the “not in my backyard” philosophy and don’t have an eye on the big picture.
Certainly, Israel has a long way to go before it meets all of its goals. But the mere fact that they have already started working on them and have remained determined all throughout despite opposition goes to show that they have a big chance of succeeding.
Check out other ways that the world is starting to embrace renewables at Power.news.