Israel cabinet approves target of 30% renewables by 2030
Israel’s cabinet has approved its Energy Ministry’s aim of having 30 percent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2030.
In a report by Times of Israel, Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Energy Minister, predicts that the transition could save the economy approximately £1.83 billion annually - although that would require a tripling of the country’s current energy infrastructure.
Describing the move as ‘ambitious and a real revolution’, Steinitz points out that the remaining 70 percent of Israel’s energy needs will need to be met by natural gas – enormous reserves of which have been found off the country’s Mediterranean coast.
The report adds that the Energy Minister has been told by the cabinet that he should review and update his targets for 2030 by the end of 2024. It has set the end of 2025 as the deadline for having reached 20 percent of power generated from renewable sources.
In June this year, Steinitz announced that the target for renewable energy by 2030 was officially being raised from 17 percent to 30 percent, in a plan that would cost £16.8 billion over the coming decade.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Energy Minister says that solar installations will be built to produce the equivalent of all the electricity produced at the time (in June 2020).The plan would see more than 80 percent of Israel’s electricity generated by solar energy at peak hours.
However, despite Steinitz’s announcement, The Environmental Protection Ministry has called for a target of 40 percent renewables by 2030.
Speaking during the Cabinet discussion, GIla Gamliel, Environmental Protection Minister, denounced the 30 percent plan, stating that it would “leave Israel behind, far from the targets of the developed, and even developing, countries”.
“The real significance of this decision is the adoption of a target of 70% electricity generation from gas, which is a polluting fossil fuel,” she adds.
The decision sends the wrong signal to the economy and undermines the certainty that businesses need to transition towards renewable energy-based sources, Gamliel explains. Instead, the huge economic investment will now be encouraged into gas infrastructure, “in contrast with all the efforts being made in Israel and around the world to reduce the dependence on energy production from fossil sources that pollute and increase climate change,” she continues, as per the report.
“Already today, close to 50 percent of electricity production from solar sources can be achieved in the built-up area,” she highlights.
The report adds that the ministries of energy and environmental protection have been at loggerheads over the targets for several months, with Steinitz stating during a Knesset committee meeting in July 2020 that a ‘senior Environmental Protection Ministry official’ was engaging in ‘populism’ for claiming that 47 percent of Israel’s energy could already come from renewable sources.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.