Finance Ministry Freezes Incentives for Large Solar Plants in Israel

Israel's solar industry displays its wares in Eilat
Israel’s solar industry will showcase its wares next week at the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference.

Just a week before the 4th annual celebration of Israel’s renewable energy industry in Eilat, the country’s slow progress toward generating green energy hit another bureaucratic snag and zigzag. The Ministry of Finance froze implementation of the feed-in tariffs the Electricity Authority approved last month for a 500 MW quota of  large solar power plants. Minister of Infrastructure Uzi Landau angrily accused the Ministry of Finance of “the targeted killing of the solar industry” and argued that the treasury’s action was contrary to government policy.

The feed-in tariffs approved last month were NIS 1.08/KWh for plants of 10-60 MW capacity, and NIS 0.99/KWh for plants of 60+ MW.  Solar developers were disappointed with these tariffs, arguing that they are low by world standards.

On the other hand, the treasury’s Budgets Division contends that the tariffs are exorbitant – some NIS 0.40/KWh higher than conventional electricity production – and warns that the subsidized rates for solar-generated power could drive the price of electricity up by 20%.

A ministerial committee on renewable energy – which met this week for the first time since its formation two years ago – decided to send this issue back to the government for review and rejected Landau’s proposal to lift the freeze in the meantime.

The chairman of the Eilot Regional Council, Udi Gat, said in response: “The freeze is a critical blow to the renewable energy industry. The large fields will enable the generation of electricity – immediately and effectively.”  Dorit Banet, the co-managing director of the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative, added: “With all due respect for the hysteria from the gas discoveries, we need to also generate renewable and green energy throughout the country and especially in the periphery.”

Image: Jesse Fox

:: TheMarker (Hebrew)
:: Calcalist (Hebrew)

More Green Prophet reports on solar energy in Israel:
Israel Signs Landmark Solar Energy Agreement with Arava Power
Eilat-Eilot Conference: The Ins & Outs Of Renewable Energy In Israel
Solar Energy’s Not So Sunny Side

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One thought on “Finance Ministry Freezes Incentives for Large Solar Plants in Israel”

  1. Phil says:

    First let me say I support harnessing solar power, however, there is some economic and technical logic to this approach.

    Innovative work in solar technologies from the efficient production of non food crop or arable land use biofeul along with advanced thin film solar technologies is coming on so fast it may make a delay in implementing what has now become old solar technology a wise move.

    Its a difficult question, we may be emotionaly ready to cut the chord with carbon but the economics of a natural gas bonanza on your doorstep simply must be taken into consideration.

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