13/12/2015
Orot Rabin Power Plant, Hadera Photo: Ilan Malester
Ministry is Ordering Israel Electric Corp. to Reduce Coal Use
Orot Rabin Power Plant, Hadera
Photo: Ilan Malester
New directives going into effect are aimed at reducing air pollution in Israel Electric Corp. (IEC) power stations. As of Dec. 13, 2015, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) has ordered the IEC to cut  its use of coal, and use more natural gas, to produce electricity in its Hadera power station. This will result in less air pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions from the plant. The directive comes after the IEC was remiss in its obligation to install scrubbers at the power station.

​The MoEP directive will lead to an 8-10% decrease in the use of coal at the Orot Rabin Power Station in Hadera in 2016. This is a level equivalent to that required in European directives, and equivalent to the level of pollution that would have been emitted if scrubbers were installed, as the IEC was obligated to do under a personal order.

Minister of Environmental Protection Avi Gabbay: This is the first time that the MoEP is instructing the IEC to reduce its use of coal, and we will continue to exercise our authority and this and other areas. We are working to get to a situation in which the IEC will use a minimum of coal, so that its power stations will pollute as little as possible.

As a result of the MoEP directive, 1.4 terawatts of electricity (3% of all electricity in Israel) that would have been generated by coal will now be generated by natural gas. This will mean less pollution, and will ultimately prevent about two dozen premature deaths per year. The economic savings will be approximately $62.5 million in external costs.

Limiting emissions from the Hadera power plant is a first step; coal use will also be restricted at the Ashkelon plant, which has also run into delays in installing scrubbers.

Electricity generation is the main cause of air pollution from fuel combustion in Israel. Coal-fired power plants in Israel account for 80% of total air pollution in the electricity sector. Installing scrubbers in all coal units would prevent the premature deaths of 234 people a year, and would reduce by tens of percent air pollution in Hadera and Ashkelon.