Israel Cuts Ribbon on Renewables

Solar panels on the roof of a private home in Israel. (Chen Leopold/Flash 90)
Solar panels on the roof of a private home in Israel. (Chen Leopold/Flash 90)

Israel cut the ribbon on what it hopes will be a new phase in its renewable energy program this week with the opening of the Zmorot solar park, the largest solar energy array in the country so far.

The Zmorot installation, owned by the French electric utility company EDF, is expected to generate 50 MWp of clean energy, Globes said on Tuesday.

Israel currently ranks last among OECD nations in the proportion of power generated from renewable energy. The OECD average is 21 percent compared to the mere 2 percent generated in Israel. Iceland produces 100 percent of its electricity from renewables, gas giant Norway generates 97 percent (by using hydroelectric power), and Spain creates 39 percent of its power from such sources.

“This is the direction in which we are heading. In the next 10 years, 60 percent of installed power capacity will be generated from renewable energy sources like solar, wind and water,” predicted EDF Energies Nouvelles CEO Antoine Cahuzac.

“Even third-world countries — China, India, Chile and Brazil — which have been relying on coal are changing the mix of fuels they use and are starting to generate electricity from renewables. There is no reason Israel should not follow strongly down the same path.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Environmental Protection Avi Gabai, CEO Antoine Cahuzac, Israel Electric Corporation Chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal, and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.