Ahead of Glasgow conference, experts blame dominance of gas industry, government for slow adoption of renewable energy
As many countries look to cut fossil fuel use and reach ambitious zero-emissions targets, Israel is resting on a goldmine of solar power whose full potential has yet to be realized, energy experts say.
With an average of more than 300 sunny days per year, the country is known for its sunny disposition. However, as of last year, only 5.7% of Israel’s entire power needs came from renewable sources, figures from the Israeli Electric Company showed.
So what is holding the country up?
Ahead of next week’s COP26 UN global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday called the battle against climate change a “national security” priority and vowed to push forward with investments in green energy.
Israel, he said, would aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 27% by 2030, and by 85% by 2050 in comparison to 2015 levels.
But green energy industry leaders are unconvinced that the government will be able to meet these goals.
“If Israel meets [those targets] it would be a miracle,” Dorit Banet, co-founder and CEO of Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy, told The Media Line. “But I in the private sector and all my colleagues will do whatever we need to do to reach those targets.”
Together with an Israeli delegation of roughly 140 people, Banet is set to give lectures on renewable energy at the Glasgow meet.
Israel, she argued, has failed time and again to shift away from fossil fuels and capitalize on its greatest natural resource: the sun.
“In Israel, the main source of energy is the sun; it’s everywhere and there most of the year,” Banet said. “We have the sun and a lot of storage technologies. What we should do is decide that most of the energy should come from solar.”
As part of Bennett’s program, Israel’s cabinet on Sunday approved a 725 million shekel ($225 million) plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decade. The funds include grants for solar energy production, investment in sustainable energy initiatives and energy efficiency improvement in the private and public sectors.
While the funding is a move in the right direction, Banet asserted that Israel is still sorely lagging behind other nations on the green energy front. One of the reasons for this is Israel’s continued exploitation of and focus on natural gas.
“There is a lot of pumping gas out of the ground, to export to Egypt, Jordan, and to …….