For the first time, an Israeli neighborhood will be connected to a natural gas line, which will supply gas for cooking, heating and eventually electricity. The gas infrastucture will be set up in the new Park neighborhood of the southern city of Ofakim, and at a ceremony with mayor Itzik Danino, Energy, Water and Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz said that the connection would provide a “cheap and plentiful source of energy” for the new neighborhood, and eventually for many other neighborhoods.
Some 700 housing units will be connected to the system at its first stage. Other neighborhoods in Dimona and Arad have been connected to the system, although gas has not begun to flow yet. Other neighborhoods in Be’er Sheva will soon be connected to the system, and the Ministry is examining the possibility of connecting neighborhoods in Tel Aviv and Rishon LeTzion to the system as well.
The project is based on the expected increase in the availability of cheap natural gas, which will begin flowing as the large Leviathan gas field comes online. Steinitz said that he expects the savings from the system to be “significant,” especially when gas is used to produce electricity. If the project for connection to homes goes well, it will be expanded to industrial infrastructure as well, Steinitz said.