LED Lamps in Maalot-Tarshisha. Photo: Joey Cohen

NIS 70m for Project that will Lower Electricity Expenses, Reduce Pollution
LED Lamps in Maalot-Tarshisha 
Photo: Joey Cohen 
A new project being funded by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) will result in significantly lower electricity bills for local authorities across Israel, and in a reduction of air pollution. The two entities will fund 40% of the cost to replace street lighting and lights in public buildings with energy efficient LED bulbs in cities and towns in the periphery. The full project cost is NIS 175 million, and is expected to save participating local authorities millions of shekels per year. This will free up money that can be spent on other important issues in these areas, such as welfare and education.

​The project is being implemented within the framework of a Nov. 2015 agreement between the State of Israel and the JNF dealing with JNF debts. Under the terms, a "Committee for National Initiatives" provides for the transfer of JNF funds to the MoEP for environmental projects. Altogether, the JNF will pay some NIS 400 million for projects aimed at reducing air pollution, energy efficiency, and improving the quality of life in Israel – especially in the periphery.

MoEP Director General Yisrael Dancziger: "We are continuing to reduce pollution and dangers, and to to protect the health of Israeli citizens. This project corrects a market failure: We are helping local authorities that haven’t succeeded in reducing electricity consumption with a project that will significantly lower air pollution, improve the health of citizens, and will free up money currently used for electricity for important issues such as welfare and education."

The lighting project will also include an element of infrastructure upgrades, such that local authorities will be able to replace systems in public buildings that currently result in high pollution emissions. These include cooling systems, energy sources that can be replaced with renewable energies, and more efficient control systems. The project is aimed at supporting less wealthy local authoritiesis with populations of at least 10,000, in national-priority areas.

The first such lighting project in Israel was launched in the northern Israeli city of Maalot-Tarshisha in 2013. 13,000 light fixtures in public institutions and on streets were replaced with LED lights. The MoEP invested NIS 5 million, but most of the project was funded by the municipality itself. The switch to LED lights there is ultimately expected to save the city NIS 3 million annually.