With your help SPNI is promoting a national plan for solar roofs, and supporting the integration of natural gas in electricity production in Israel in order to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Renewable Energy Report
The report determines and recommends that the best solution for renewable energy is solar panels on roofs. According to the report, in 2030 approximately one-third of Israel’s electricity could be produced by this method.
As part of our activities to promote the use of renewable sources of energy we are studying and learning about the technologies and methods suitable for implementation in Israel. The main technologies currently promoted in Israel, for electricity production from renewable sources, are solar panels on the ground and wind turbines. However, each of these solutions carries environmental problems: solar panels on the ground require extensive areas of land, which may reach between 90 and 100 thousand dunams with the implementation of the government decision to achieve 17% production of renewable energy by 2030. Similarly, wind turbines bring great danger for flying animals in Israel, including many species of birds and bats, while the initial wind potential in Israel is not very great.
In contrast to these methods, the use of the existing roof resource and its utilization for constructing solar panels seems to be the most suitable solution and is aligned best with environmental thinking. The report proposes policy and a plan of action for the government to implement the solution and recommends principles for integrating production of electricity from renewable energy in the most optimal way for current and future generations, while conserving natural assets and Israel’s extraordinary and globally important biodiversity.
We believe we must take advantage of roof spaces and work towards comprehensive production of solar energy in built-up areas; we must take advantage of the organic waste resource to produce electricity from biogas while maintaining the quality of the air, water and soil; we must erect wind turbines only in cases without significant risk for animals, with an emphasis on endangered species and flag species, and as long as they do not create a nuisance for residents. As mentioned, the potential for this is very limited and the current quota for wind turbines should not be increased, and no further land should be allocated for solar energy.
We Support the Government Plan for Solar Roofs
A few weeks after our report was published, the Minister of Energy, Dr. Yuval Steinitz, announced a revolution and promotion of solar energy on roofs, a revolution that corresponds with the recommendations of the report; and we are happy with this announcement.
The economic benefits from constructing solar panels on roofs are many: savings in marking conduction routes, reduced air pollution, decreased living costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and more. In the light of these benefits, the Electricity Authority recommends that roof owners in Israel construct solar roofs and reduce their electricity costs or sell their electricity to the grid. Unfortunately, due to various reasons this field is developing very slowly and we call on the government to act to improve its development, but the announcement by the Minister of Energy raises optimism.
Cancellation of the Plan to Establish a Wind Turbine Farm at Ein Hashofet
After a hard battle, we were pleased when, one month ago, the northern regional committee decided to reject the plan to establish wind turbines in Ramat Menashe. Our opposition to establishing a wind turbine farm at Ein Hashofet focused on the danger to the population of the lesser kestrel, which breeds in the region, and harm to other flying animals. Furthermore, we were concerned that approval of the plan would act as a slippery slope to approval of additional plans in the Ramat Menashe Biosphere Reserve. In our opinion, this region is not suitable for the establishment of wind turbine farms, with respect to both the wind regime and the harm it would incur to natural assets unique to this region.
After a busy month in which we worked to raise public awareness of the future consequences of establishing a wind turbine farm in Ramat Menashe, and create opposition among the residents of the Ramat Menashe Biosphere Reserve, we witnessed the dramatic decision of the northern regional committee to reject the plan submitted by Energix to establish nine turbines, each 180 m tall.
Next year we will continue to promote integration of renewable energy in Israel based on solar panels on roofs.