It is apparent to everyone that Israel’s electricity generation capacity is not growing at the rate of increased consumption. Israel is suffering from a chronic shortage electricity manifest primarily at times of peak demand in the summer and winter, but which also compromises the reliability of supplies the rest of the year. Without immediate action, a severe crisis is anticipated in the coming years liable to disrupt the economy and the lives of Israel's inhabitants.
Energy efficiency is a vital step to reducing energy consumption in general and electricity consumption in particular. The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, as the agency responsible for Israel’s energy sector, is promoting a national plan for energy efficiency; however, its success depends on the cooperation of all the Government Ministries, the authorities and the public at large.
To comply with Government Resolution 4095 for energy conservation of at least 20% in 2020, the Ministry, in 2010, published The National Plan for Energy Efficiency – Reduction in Electricity Consumption 2010-2020, prepared by the competent personnel in the Ministry. The plan's implementation is equivalent to the construction of a “virtual power station”, which we shall not have to build due to the efficiency steps contained in it. The expected savings by 2020 is equivalent to the cost of building a 3,400 MW power station (excluding the energy it itself consumes), namely, the sum of $4.25 billion.
This is an intensive, multi-agency plan aimed at achieving energy efficiency and conservation, that specifies the steps required in each sector, defines priorities, and presents the actions and implementation methods, that will led by the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources. The plan includes financial incentives, tax benefits, regulations, education, workshops, advertising, public awareness campaigns, etc.
Under the plan, the Ministry submitted a proposal to the Government to establish an energy efficiency fund with an annual budget of NIS 220 million, to be financed by raising electricity rates by one percent. The fund moneys will be given back to the public through various incentives, and the fruits of the conservation will be felt in the wallet by virtue of the lower energy bills that we will all pay.
Based on the plan, and within the framework of the national greenhouse gas emission reduction program, the Government has approved an energy efficiency plan. To this end, the Ministry has allocated NIS 157 million for each of the years 2011 and 2012 for activity in this area, an impressive rise compared to the NIS 6 million allocated in 2009; it has also added seven more personnel positions.
In addition to extensive and diverse activity in the scheme, for the first time, special emphasis has been placed on extending active enforcement to the application of the regulations under the Energy Resources Law dealing with energy efficiency. Expansion of the enforcement activity has already led, in the immediate term, to a dramatic rise in the number of energy surveys conducted in 2010, which found great potential for energy conservation at the production plants that conducted such surveys. The surveys indicate potential energy savings of 600 million kWh per year.
Implementation of the national plan will save the energy sector more than 100 billion kWh in 2020, reduce the need to build additional power stations saving billions of dollars, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tens of millions of tons of CO2.