In a move that may be an indication of how far Israel is willing to go to deal with the crisis, it has issued a statement on Tuesday saying that it has the capability to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
The statement comes as a report by Israel’s utility company, Telenor, said that demand for power in Israel has increased by a quarter to 5,000 megawatts this year, a far cry from the peak of 5,200 megawatts in the year prior.
Netanyahu’s government said in its statement that the current figure is not realistic because it depends on “lack of demand” from solar, wind and biomass sources.
“We must continue to build and develop solar, geothermal and wind power plants, while we also have to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels,” the statement said.
It added that the “national grid should not be built on coal or natural gas” and that “we must ensure a high quality energy supply for the future, not only for our citizens, but also for our economy.”
According to the Israeli government, the country is planning to invest around $2 billion in renewable energy projects over the next decade.
Telenor’s report said that a quarter of the total electricity consumption in Israel was generated by renewable sources in 2030.
According to its calculations, the power generated from solar and wind could reach a total of 4,500 megawatts and 7,400 megawatts, respectively, by 2030, it said.
Telesur, a renewable energy provider based in the Israeli city of Haifa, told Al Jazeera that it had seen a “huge” increase in solar installations in Israel over the last two years, while the number of wind turbines in the country had increased by 50% from the previous year.
“Israel is now the second largest producer of wind energy in the world,” said Alvaro Fonseca, director of the energy and sustainability department at Telesur.
“We have seen solar installations go from 200,000 to 300,000.
We’ve seen wind installations go up by a lot.””
There are many countries that are trying to be competitive, but Israel is different,” he said.
“The country is not going to compete with China or India, but the Israelis are making a very strong push.”
While the number and size of renewable energy installations in the European Union (EU) have increased substantially over the past two years due to the EU’s ambitious renewable energy targets, the Israeli report also said that the country’s electricity demand was still “below” its target of generating 4,000 Megawatts of power a year by 2030 and that the number was “much lower than the targets” of countries like Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Israel’s energy minister, Yair Lapid, said on Tuesday that the new government’s renewable energy strategy would be “the first step towards a cleaner, more efficient and less polluting energy future”.
The government also plans to expand the use of batteries in its electricity generation system.
According the Telesury report, Israeli companies have invested nearly $10 billion in batteries in recent years, with a total capacity of 10,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity capacity.
It said that it plans to add a new battery plant to the country by 2020.
Telenesur’s Fonsca said that Israel’s electricity sector is still a major impediment to achieving sustainable energy production, and that it is the country with the highest carbon emissions per capita in the EU.
“The biggest obstacle to achieving a sustainable energy future is the current state of electricity generation,” Fonsche said.
“It is the only sector where carbon emissions remain high.
It is a serious obstacle.”
The TelesUR report said, however, that Israel has been “building up” its solar energy capacity and that solar is “one of the main drivers” of its economic growth, as well as the country “releasing” fossil fuels for use in the energy sector.
“This is one of the most promising developments of the past few years.
In terms of investment, solar is the largest,” Fomentah El-Ghoray told Al-Jazeera.
“Solar has been in the pipeline for quite some time, but they are now building it.
The first one [a solar farm] is being built, and the others are coming up.”