Despite All-Time High Demand, Electricity Flows Smoothly as Storm Rages

The control room at the Israeli Electricity Company power station in Hadera. (Flash90)

Israel set an all-time record for electricity usage Wednesday night, as cold, windy weather, thunderstorms and heavy rain – and snow in some of the higher areas, including Yerushalayim – blanketed the country. Demand reached 12,921 megawatts – 97 percent of the Israel Electric Company’s total capacity.

The heavy usage led the IEC to issue appeals to residents in many communities to limit usage. It was the second day in a row that the IEC issued such an appeal, as Wednesday’s record broke one that had been set just a day earlier.

Along with the heavy usage, the IEC was faced with another problem Wednesday night – a glitch in one of the transfer stations in the Ashkelon area, which prevented the transmission of power to other areas that were stretched to the limit.

Although there are heavy demand days in the summer, the situation then is alleviated by the fact that the IEC gets an additional 1,200 megawatts from its solar energy conversion system. As the main demand in the summer is during the daytime, the company is able to cope with the heavy use of air conditioners during the hottest part of the day. In the winter, however, the main demand is at night – between 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. – when electricity from solar sources is unavailable.

With that, the company proudly noted Thursday that it was able to avoid brownouts, a strategy it has used in the past when faced with extremely heavy demand; any blackouts that occurred were due to the heavy winds that knocked some electrical lines down.

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