Virtual Power Station maybe the Answer for Israel

Israel’s electricity reserves are dangerously low, so reports the Jerusalem Post.

In a conversation with The Post, one government official compared them to Sub-Saharan Africa. Any drastic rise in appliance usage could plunge parts of the country into darkness or force the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to initiate rolling brown outs to prevent a more costly blackout. It’s happened a time or two in previous summers.

Yael Cohen Paran, director of the Israel Energy Forum, reckons that the only reason it hadn’t happened more often and more drastically last year was due to the global economic downturn reduced usage in 2009 and because the IEC has been building power plants at a frantic rate since 2007. According to Cohen Paran, it’s just a matter of time before outages will take place.

Demand is rising at unsustainable levels, as much as 4% a year. The IEC is still busily planning for more and more polluting coal-fired power plants because demand will double over the next decade or so.

So what’s the answer?

The debate over coal versus natural gas versus renewables as a power source is a necessary and interesting one. But there’s another angle.

One way to reduce the number of power plants needed is to reduce demand.

The investment in energy efficiency is cheaper than building any type of power plant. Cohen Paran refers to “virtual power stations” – the stations that don’t need to be built as efficiency kicks in.

Israel’s National Infrastructures Ministry has partnered with the Israel Energy Forum to encourage energy efficiency and passed a government decision last year to reduce usage by 20% by 2020.

As far as an organisations willingness is concerned, businesses and organisations need to realise that it can be more profitable to be energy efficient? How can the Israeli government convince its customers to use less electricity is actually a better way to go?

The problem is that many Israeli companies do not appreciate the potential savings from reducing resource use. Most companies do not keep track of exactly how they spend their resources. Tracking usage is the first step to controlling it. Once you have an idea where your resources are going, you can see if people are using too much.

Cohen Paran is convinced that energy efficiency and reducing demand is the only way to stave off a twilight future of more pollution and increasing blackouts.the-esa.org

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