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
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