Israel Wants Over 15 GW Solar By 2030

Israel is now betting big on solar and presenting it as a strong and capable successor to polluting coal which it wants to phase out by 2025. Solar is proposed in a government draft as the key pillar of the national electricity system by 2030. Pictured is the LaMimunia Moroccan Culture Center in Ashdod, Israel. (Photo Credit: Shmuliko/www.goodfreephotos.com)
Israel Wants Over 15 GW Solar By 2030
  • Israeli government has proposed setting up a target of 15.77 GW new solar power capacity to be achieved by 2030
  • It wants to revise its 2030 renewable energy target of 17% currently to 30%
  • While coal is proposed to be phased out by 2025, natural gas is recommended as supporting renewables that are envisioned to account for some 80% of the national electricity requirement by 2030
  • Government has promised to make the country an attractive investment destination for renewable energy investors

By 2030, Israel wants to chase a renewable energy share of 30% in its total energy mix, increasing it from the current target of 17%, announced the country's Ministry of Energy and Electricity. A major pillar of this plan is solar power for which the objective is to add 15.77 GW capacity by 2030. In the interim, by 2025 the target is proposed to be between 17% to 20%.

In a draft issued by the ministry detailing the roadmap, the country expects to have around 80% of its electricity needs being met by renewables during peak hours, majorly solar, with natural gas contributing the rest. The country is also clear it wants to exit coal power by 2025 which currently accounts for 30% of the country's energy mix.

These goals if realized will bring down air pollution in the country by 93% in 15 years between 2015 and 2030, the government hopes, and will also lead to a reduction of 50% in its GHG emissions.

As per the plan, Israel will use rooftops, reservoirs, open land for solar power installations and also encourage storage capacity growth to accommodate the target. It is even open to exploring building integrated PV (BIPV) technology to generate solar power from buildings and walls once the technology reaches commercial maturity and costs drop.

The government has promised to remove barriers related to real estate, planning, construction and permitting as well as strengthening the grid infrastructure to support the renewable energy plans with an eye on making the country an attractive destination for renewable energy investors.

"In the coming decade, solar energy and electricity storage facilities will be set up in Israel equal to all existing electricity generation!," said Energy Minister Dr Yuval Steinitz. "In my current term, I intend to make the sun a major and significant source of energy in the State of Israel."

The draft is open for stakeholder comments and feedback till June 18, 2020.

Providing background to this call for increasing renewable energy target from 17% to 30%, The Times of Israel says, Steinitz was under tremendous pressure from heads of local government environment committees as well as scientists who wanted the minister to focus on renewables instead of natural gas which he advocates strongly.

Till the end of 2019, Israel's total renewable energy capacity reached 1.5 GW, according to the Renewable Energy Capacity Statistics 2020 of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Solar's contribution was 1.19 GW.

In January 2020, Israel launched a solar power tender for 300 MW grid connected capacity with energy storage in the Negev Desert.

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