Brownouts Loom for Israel and Mideast Countries this Summer

woman israel fan cooling off at the beachIsraelis might have to cool off with just fans this summer.

Summer heat waves in Israel and other parts of the Middle East are putting extraordinary strains on electricity power grids. These strains are so intense, that recently, Israel’s environment minister, Gilad Erdan, even proposed that his country cut back electric power to Gaza, which receives around 80% of its total electricity from Israel’s national power grid.

But Gaza’s electricity shortage problems are not felt by the Israeli public, which has increased its usage of air conditioners and other appliances so much that power stations of the Israel Electric Company (IEC) are not able to supply enough power, according to the Jerusalem Post. To handle crisis the country will be sending SMS alerts to customers to warn them about the brownouts, and will educate them about better efficiency use.The IEC is urging the general public to refrain from using heavy usage appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, cooking stoves and toaster ovens, as well as vacuum cleaners between 12 and 5 PM.

Air conditioners in both homes and offices should be set at at least 25 degrees Celsius says an IEC spokes person as current usage of as much as 10,500 Megawatts of electricity during peak hours will soon overload the power grid and result in both brown and blackouts.

Israel’s power stations are dependent on fossil fuels such as coal and heavy fuel oil, as well as natural gas. Natural gas, although a bit cleaner than the other fuel sources, until recently came from Egypt, making Israel dependent on piped in gas supplies which has been suspended due to continuous attacks of terror and sabotage on the pipeline bringing the gas to both Israel an Jordan from Egypt via the Sinai peninsula.

Although offshore gas fields may soon supply much of the country’s natural gas needs, the potential threat of terror attacks on those wells from both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza (including Al Qaeda) may jeopardize  this energy source as well.

Despite recent attention being given to renewable energy projects, including solar energy projects in the Negev and Arava regions, and wave energy pilot projects by such companies as SDE Energy, entirely too much confrontation exists between advocates of renewable energy and environmentalists such as those connected with the Nature and Parks Authority.

Not enough assistance is being given by the IEC to owners of solar energy plants in the form of “feed in tariffs” to make it worthwhile to invest in the construction of both personal solar energy “rooftop” plants and larger solar array farms.

Other area countries with brown and black out risks include Lebanon, which is interested in constructing renewable energy projects. Also Jordan, which is experiencing a serious energy crisis resulting in frequent power outages.

With all this in mind, much more attention needs to be devoted to developing energy projects using renewable energy sources; especially in regards to harvesting that one energy source that all area countries have plenty of –  the sun .

Read more on energy issues in Israel and other regional locations:

Israel Environment Minister Proposes Cuts to Gaza Electricity to Bridge Shortfalls
Solar War Flares up in Israel
An Israel Alone, Dependent on Natural Gas
Solutions to Jordan’s Energy Crises Must be Sustainable

Image of woman and fan from Shutterstock

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