Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

28 Shevat 5761 - Febuary 21, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Revised Forecast of Power Needs
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The Israel Electric Corporation has raised its estimates for Israel's power needs in the next two decades based on an analysis that indicates that another $600 million is needed for two more gas turbines in addition to the original budget for new power plants. It also found that the $1.1 billion coal-fired generator planned for 2017 must be pushed up to 2008, according to a report in Ha'aretz.

The National Infrastructure Ministry forecast a 4.5 percent annual increase in power consumption, but the IEC now expects it to exceed 5 percent. Another factor mandating more power generation is an upward revision of population growth figures that the Central Bureau of Statistics published.

Under the revised plan, by 2005 five combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) plants of 370 megawatts each will be required. Three are to be built by the IEC, and two by private developers. This plan has been approved by the National Infrastructure Ministry.

The IEC further calls for another seven gas turbines to be built between 2005 and 2010 -- two more than the original plan. This ministry has not approved this revision yet.

The gas plants are easy to fire up and easy to shut down and are very useful to supply relatively sudden power needs.

The IEC also maintains that the coal power plant, which according to the original plan was to be set up in 2017- 2018, must be ready to go by 2010. It is either that or three gas turbines, the IEC said.

An analysis prepared by the National Infrastructure Ministry found that there is no financial justification to build a coal power plant, but the IEC and the ministry are still discussing the matter. IEC sources believe such a plant will eventually be built since the coal plant provides cheap and reliable power. It is easy to sign long-term contracts for coal supply from friendly countries.

If the IEC's plan is adopted, 15 gas turbines -- or 12 gas turbines and a coal power plant -- will be built by 2010 at a total cost of $4 billion.

Addressing this data, IEC CEO Yaakov Razon said that the IEC does not have enough locations in which to set up these plants. "We hardly have land for seven gas turbines, and we have to build 15," Razon complained.

Haifa and Ashkelon have both been named as potential locations for the coal power plant, but Ashkelon will probably be the winner. Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin called on prime minister elect Ariel Sharon to start building the additional coal power plant south of the city without delay.

The chairman of the IEC union, Yoram Oberkowitz, said the additional plant in Ashkelon was needed because it would guarantee hundreds and even thousands of jobs for city residents.


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