Israel, the only country in its region to be without any significant oil and gas reserves, has been latching on to the renewable energy bandwagon much faster, especially as a supplier to the world. Now, the country is keen to set its own house in order too. The Director-General of Israel’s Energy Ministry, Lior Shilat, said that the Israeli government will need to approve as many as 54 policy measures that will help the country to reach its goal of producing Israel’s 30 per cent energy from renewable sources by 2030.
Lior Shilat informed the press and industry that Israeli government will also have to ensure renewable energy was a national priority. The Director General held that the fossil fuels wouldn’t be eliminated in near future. He held that the energy transition to renewable sources would be gradual in nature and the fossil fuels will still be employed even after 25 years from in small quantities.
Israel has been suffering with the slow pace of regulatory change and bureaucratic approvals that has derailed the renewable energy sector’s growth.
The country wants to have 30% of its energy coming from renewables by the end of this decade. The target was set in October 2020. The interim targets were: 20% by 2025 and 10% by 2020.
The travesty of the RE expansion is that Israel has missed the goal of achieving its 10 per cent target. As of today, the country generates just 8.7% of its current energy from renewable sources. The government has been focusing heavily on natural gas. Spirited environmental activists say that this excessive reliance on natural gas is directed at making revenue while the government says that natural gas is being used as a medium or part for the transition to renewables.
Zoning Plans: A Game Changer In Making
Subsequently, the National Planning and Building Council of Israel has also held a special session with the planning department of the Energy Ministry. This was focused on the plans for zoning various parts of renewable energy and electricity generation that was recently proposed.
As per reports, these zoning plans will be put to public domain to attract comment and suggestions from the general public and district planning committees. If the Israeli Government gives a go ahead to the zoning plans, about $5 million will be spent on setting up more than 130 sites across Israel in a quest to test different agro-voltaic systems. This will be done in a variety of conditions and employing different agricultural crops. A little less than 500 acres will be covered in the testing phase where both green electricity and agricultural crops will be harnessed in a synergy of Energy Ministry and Agriculture Ministry.
Energy storage is an unalienable segment for RE expansion and just transition. Reports hold that the Israeli government is also mulling a national zoning plan for energy storage infrastructure. Locations and rules will be formulated for the approval of storage facilities of many sizes and employing a number of technologies.
A storage facility of 800-MW in Jezreel Valley (Gilboa Industrial Park) will also be put in the public domain for comment and suggestions.