Israel to end coal era by 2025: energy minister

Israel will completely stop using coal for electricity generation by 2025, the state’s Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz announced Wednesday.

The minister said that “it has been decided to shorten the schedules of converting the coal-fired power plants to natural gas, thus ending the coal era in Israel by 2025.”

The current decision relates to the two main electricity power stations in the northern city of Hadera and the southern city of Ashkelon.

Four of the coal-fired power units at Hadera station are scheduled to close by 2022, according to a previous government decision, while the other two additional units there will be converted to use natural gas by the end of 2025.

In addition, one unit at the Ashkelon power station will be closed by 2022, while other three units at the facility will be converted to use natural gas by the end of 2024.

According to the ministry, the decision to convert the coal-fired power stations was made after a professional examination of the options by the Israeli Electricity Authority.

Among the considerations were environmental, capital and operational costs, as well as fuel prices and Israel’s energy security.

In 2015, Steinitz declared a 15-percent reduction in coal use in electricity generation, and a year later ordered a reduction in coal use to a minimum.

In 2017, the minister announced “Policy 2030” for the weaning of Israel from polluting fuels by 2030, and with its new decision it shortens the timetable for coal elimination by five years.

“In recent years, the ministry has instituted a new policy for detoxifying Israel from polluting fuels and encouraging the use of natural gas and renewable energy. The current decision will significantly reduce air pollution,” said the minister.