GenCell Supports Israel’s Net ZerO Emissions – NZO Program to Transition to Renewable Energy
The Goal: 95% of the power consumed in Israel in 2050 is to be generated from renewable energy sources
When God created the first human beings, God led them around all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said: “Look at My works! See how beautiful they are—how excellent! For your sake I created them all. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it.” Midrash Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:13 [Translation by AJWS]
As a leader in the sustainable Israeli cleantech space, GenCell is proud to support the Heschel Institute’s NZO – Net ZerO Emissions Program which has carried out a feasibility study to show that Israel can transition to 95% of the power it will consume by 2050 to be generated from renewable energy resources. Here below find the executive summary of the NZO report, released in December 2020.
What objective should be set for the ratio of renewable energies in the Israeli electricity sector?
The Minister of Energy, Knesset Member Dr. Yuval Steinetz announced last July that he has set a target to reach 30% renewable energy resources by 2030.1 In other words, according to government policy, some 70% or more of the electricity that is consumed in Israel will be generated (from 2030 and beyond) from fossil fuel resources, from pollutant fuels and the remainder will be generated from renewable energy resources.
This announcement by the Minister Steinetz is a welcome improvement compared to government policy until now, but is this an appropriate target? 30% by 2030? Or should we be aiming for a different target?
This study offers a theoretical foundation necessary to set a baseline as to the correct ratio of renewable energy resources for power generation in Israel. First of all, recognizing that processes in the power and electricity sector extend across several years, the timeframe is yet to be determined. The question we pose is what is the target we should set for the long-term?
Secondly, this study aims to challenge some incorrect fundamental beliefs and preconceptions regarding renewable energy, especially the wrong assumption that renewable energy resources cannot fully meet Israel’s demand for electricity.
This study shows that it is possible to meet some 95% of the expected annual demand for electricity in 2050 by means of renewable resources. In this scenario, which we have labeled the “NZO 2050 Scenario” will bring about a reduction of more than 90% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contributed to the climate crisis in comparison to the “Business as Usual” scenario, based on the government’s current policy.
The “NZO 2050 Scenario” is not only cleaner and healthier but is also economically justifiable. The realization of this scenario does not require additional investments during the given timeframe from 2021 – 2050 beyond those required by the “Business as Usual” scenario. In order to determine the correct target ratio for renewable energy generation resources to be consumed in Israel, NZO posed a simple question:
What is the optimal use of energy resources for generating electricity in Israel between 2021 – 2050, taking into consideration three parameters: a) fulfillment of the demand for electricity; b) reduction of emissions harmful to the environment and to the population; and c) assurance that the economic cost does not exceed that of the “Business as Usual” scenario.
To answer this question, NZO will review (in Chapter 1) the energy resources available for generation of electricity. These resources include fossil fuels – and especially gas; and renewable energy resources – especially solar energy. As we will explain, in order to optimally exploit renewable resources, it is necessary to also develop energy and electricity storage capacity.
In Chapter 2 NZO estimates the magnitude of the demand for electricity in Israel, both in hourly and annual terms, from 2021 – 2050, using estimations and analyses of data from authorized Israeli sources.
In Chapter 3 NZO describes thousands of different combinations of energy resources to produce electricity that compose the scenarios we propose using a computerized model that was designed especially for this study. Each scenario was tested against the three parameters that we set in our research thesis: fulfillment of energy demand, environmental impact and economic efficiency.
In Chapter 4 NZO presents the optimal scenario which arose from our research. The scenario will be compared to the “Business as Usual” scenario (BAU), in other words, the scenario that would come about should the current government policy continue “as is’. NZO notes that the globally recognized accounting firm Deloitte carried out an external audit of the economic aspects of the model and of the fundamental principles underlying the study. The external evaluation validated the model, the basic principles and the conclusions derived from the study.
Execution of the NZO scenario in Israel aligns with the transition that is taking place in the energy sector around the world – the move to electricity generation from renewable energy resources. In 2019, 72% of the power generation capacity that was added in the world came from renewable sources, the majority of which came from solar energy.1
In the scenario that was devised, more than 90% of the power to be produced in Israel will come from solar energy, an energy source that is abundant in the country. Solar energy is generated during daylight and is not available in all hours of the day; moreover, in some seasons of the year, solar production capacity is significantly reduced. This challenge can be overcome by means of storage, wherein power is produced in excess of demand during peak production hours and the surplus power is stored in a power storage system. The stored electricity can be delivered to the grid at times when solar energy is not being produced (This is an example of how to supply electricity derived from solar energy at night.)
Until recently it was not economically viable to store energy in large volume. However, the substantial reduction in the prices of storage systems, alongside an expectation that this drop in price will continue, allows us to establish our baseload for electricity supply on solar energy integrated with storage.
The NZO scenario will enable a decrease of hundreds of thousands of tons of emissions that are harmful to the environment and to humans in comparison with the “BAU” scenario that is based on an extension of the current policy of the Israeli government in this regard.
In light of the conclusions derived from this research study indicating that the NZO scenario can indeed be realized, enabling some 95% of the power consumed in Israel to be produced from renewable sources, we propose a set of policy recommendations to the decision-makers in the public sector, in business and academia.
Define a national policy to transition to renewable energy – reach a strategic decision to transition to an energy market based on renewable energy resources, defining milestones and targets in accordance with IPCC recommendations. In alignment with these recommendations, renewable energy targets in Israel will be set at 50% by 2030 and 95% by 2050.
- Comprehensive planning at the national level – long-term plans for the country to transition to a low emission energy sector while establishing broad cooperation between the different government ministries, the municipal sector and the commercial sector.
- Climate Commission – establishment of a professional body funded by the State to advise the Israeli government re all aspects of the curtailment of greenhouse gas emissions in Israel, similar to the Committee on Climate Change which has been established in Great Britain.
- Removal of all obstacles and encouragement for solutions and tools to be given to agents of change to promote the generation of electricity from renewable resources.
- Maximizing the potential of solar power – definition of building standards that will encourage and even mandate solar energy production for new buildings and will increase to a maximum the establishment of PV systems in urban areas. Extension of regulations for dual use (installation of PV systems supplementary to the main purpose of the site and/or building) for all converted areas that can handle dual usage. Establishment of systems to make information available to the public re the installation of PV systems and funding mechanisms for such.
- Storage – assistance in integrating storage systems into the electric grid by means of encouragement for the establishment of power storage systems as an integral part of every new PV deployment to be established. Development of a business model that will encourage the deployment of storage systems alongside existing PV installations. Promotion of storage in residences and commercial facilities (behind the meter) and integration of EV storage capacity as another means of storage for the power grid.
- From the social and economic perspective – a future-forward evaluation of every aspect of energy production with the aim of establishing a distributed and equitable energy market, based on a social approach that defines availability of affordable electricity as a basic right within a progressive society.
- Development of a renewable energy industry in Israel – government investment in R&D and incentives for innovation in the renewable energy sector and the development of technological capabilities and production capabilities in the sector.
- Cancellation of the indirect support for the gas sector by reassigning the full investment costs of development of the gas sector in Israel to the developers and by adjusting the fixed gas tariffs to align with current global gas prices, alongside the elimination of future investments in the gas transmission grid.
This program was created by the NZO team at the Heschel Institute for Sustainability.
The NZO team was established by the Heschel Institute of Sustainability and brings together volunteer experts from a variety of fields who were recruited to create a program to transition to renewable energies that can accommodate the enormous challenge that the climate crisis presents before us.
The Heschel Center for Sustainability develops and applies its vksion for sustainability: a just and united society, a resilient and democratic economy and a production environment that is healthy for all its members. The Center brings together creative and practical knowhow, shares the story of sustainability in imaginative ways and assists agents of change from every sector to promote meaningful processes of change in Israel.
The Heschel Center’s strategy for change is derived from the magnitude of the challenge and its urgency.
The Heschel Center sponsors a wide range of local activities demonstrating that lifestyles can improve when they become sustainable and that networking and collaboration can include people from all across Israeli society working together for renewal and repair, considering that without public/peer pressure and demand from the field, a change in policy will simply not occur.
In the area of climate crisis, the Heschel Center has great impact on policy makers thanks to its research in the area of a just transition to a low carbon economy.
Research, Steering Committee and Data Integration: NZO Project Team
Composition and Editing: “In Preparation for the Coming Days” (Ltd.) – Yaniv Carmel and Erez Raviv
For contact and more details – www.nzo.org.il
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