Energy in Israel

Solar field, Kibbutz Elifaz, Israel

Energy in Israel comes mostly from hydrocarbon fuels. The country's total primary energy demand is significantly higher than its total primary energy production, relying heavily on imports to meet its energy needs. Total primary energy consumption was 285.5 TWh (0.974 quad) in 2011, or 24.5 Mtoe (million tonne of oil equivalent).[1]

Electricity consumption in Israel was 59.83 TWh in 2014, while production was 64.44 TWh, with net exports of 4.94 TWh.[2] The installed generating capacity was about 16.25 GW in the same year, almost all from hydrocarbon fuel plants, mostly coal and gas fueled.[2] Renewable energy accounted for a minor share of electricity production, with a small photovoltaic installed capacity. However, there are a total of over 1.3 million solar water heaters installed as a result of mandatory solar water heating regulations.


Pinhas Rutenberg's power station, Naharayim

Throughout Israel's history, securing the energy supply had been a major concern of Israeli policymakers.[3] In 1923, before the establishment of the state, Pinhas Rutenberg established the Jaffa Electric Company which became the Palestine Electric Company, precursor of the Israel Electric Corporation.[4] Petroleum exploration began in 1947 on a surface feature in the Heletz area in the southern coastal plain. The first discovery, Heletz-I, was completed in 1955, followed by the discovery and development of a few small wells in Kokhav, Brur, Ashdod and Zuk Tamrur in 1957.[5] The combined Heletz-Brur-Kokhav field produced a total of 17.2 million barrels, a negligible amount compared with national consumption. Since the early 1950s, 480 oil and gas wells, land and offshore were drilled in Israel, most of which did not result in commercial success. In 1958–1961, several small gas fields were discovered in the southern Judean desert. From the Six Day War until the Egyptian Separation Treaty in 1975, Israel produced large quantities of petroleum from the Abu Rodes oil field in Sinai.[6]

Primary energy

Natural gas

Drilling for oil in the Mediterranean, Noa gas field
Main article: Natural gas in Israel

Since Israel’s creation in 1948, it has been dependent on energy imports from other countries.[7] Specifically, Israel produced 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2013, and imported 720 million cubic meters in 2011.[8] Historically, Israel has imported natural gas through the Arish-Ashkelon pipeline from Egypt.[9] Egypt is currently the second largest natural gas producer in North Africa. In 2005 Egypt signed a 2.5 billion dollar deal to supply Israel with 57 billion cubic feet of gas per year for fifteen years.[10] Under this arrangement, Egypt supplies 40 percent of Israel's natural gas demand.[10] The Israeli Electric Corporation (IEC) controls more than 95% of the electricity sector in Israel, and controls production, distribution, and transmission of electricity. The IEC has a natural gas distribution law which regulates the distribution of natural gas in Israel to empower market competition.[11]

The discoveries of the Tamar gas field in 2009 and the Leviathan gas field in 2010 off the coast of Israel were important. The natural gas reserves in these two fields (Leviathan has around 19 trillion cubic feet)[9] could make Israel energy secure for more than 50 years. Israel might even be able to export gas.[12] In 2013 Israel began commercial production of natural gas from the Tamar field. There are currently plans to pipe the natural gas from the Tamar field through a pipeline in Ashdod, in Israel, and then turn it into liquefied natural gas. This plan is expected to begin in 2017.[9] Similarly, there are plans to begin exploitation of the Leviathan field by as early as 2016.[9]


The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) is the main producer of electricity in Israel. Its full production capacity is 11,900 megawatts.[13] In 2016 IEC's market share in the electricity market was 71%.[14] In 2015, the energy consumption in Israel was 52.86 TWh, similar to Portugal and Kuwait,[15] and 6,562 kWh per capita, comparable to the Russia and Estonia.[16]

Hydrocarbon fuels

Most electricity in Israel comes from hydrocarbon fuels from IEC power plants. Below is a list of IEC power plants that produce power from hydrocarbon fuels (as of 2007).

NameLocationType of turbineType of fuelCapacity (MW)
Orot Rabin Hadera Steam Coal 2,590
Orot Rabin Hadera Gas (jet) Diesel 15
Rutenberg Power Station Ashkelon Steam Coal 2,250
Rutenberg Power Station Ashkelon Gas (jet) Diesel 40
Eshkol Power Station Ashdod Steam Natural gas 1,062
Eshkol Power Station Ashdod Gas (jet), combined cycle Natural gas 387
Reading Power Station Tel Aviv Steam Natural gas 428
Haifa Power Station Haifa Steam Fuel oil 426
Haifa Power Station Haifa Gas (jet) Diesel 80
Eilat Power Station Eilat Gas (jet and industrial) Diesel 99
Eitan Power Station Gas (jet) Diesel 40
Alon Tavor Power Station Alon Tavor Industrial Zone Gas (industrial), combined cycle Diesel 460
Gezer Power Station Ramla Gas (industrial), combined cycle Natural gas 1,300
Hartuv Power Station Gas (jet) Diesel 40
Hagit Power Station Elyakim Gas, combined cycle Natural gas 1,100
Kinarot Power Station Gas (jet) Diesel 80
Atarot Power Station Gas (industrial) Diesel 68
Tzafit Power Station Kiryat Mal'akhi Gas (industrial), combined cycle Natural gas, Diesel 468
Caesarea Power Station Gas (jet) Diesel 130
Ramat Hovav Power Station Ramat Hovav Gas (industrial), combined cycle Diesel 1,000
Ra'anana Power Station Ra'anana Gas (jet) Diesel 11
Dorad Power Station Ashkelon Combined cycle Natural gas 840

Renewable energy

Roof-top solar boilers in Jerusalem

Renewable energy in Israel is produced in solar fields, such as Energix Renewable Energies' Neot Hovav and Ketura Sun and from biogas (11 MW), hydroelectricity (6.6 MW) and wind power in the Golan Heights Wind Farm (6 MW). Despite getting more than 300 days of sunshine per year, As of 2015, Israel gets less than 2% of its electricity from renewable sources. According to the Green Energy Association of Israel, the number of solar energy companies in the country has fallen from about 130 in 2010 to 60 in 2015. The country's Green Energy Association says that recent discoveries of large amounts of natural gas since 2009 have dimmed the government's interest in renewable energy. Officially, however, Israel maintains it will reach its goal of attaining 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. [17]

Nuclear energy

As of 2013 Israel has no nuclear power plants. However, in January 2007, Israeli Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said his country should consider producing nuclear power for civilian purposes.[18]

As a result of the nuclear emergencies at Japan's Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on March 17, 2011, "I don't think we're going to pursue civil nuclear energy in the coming years."[19][20][21]

See also


  1. "Israel". EIA - US Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Israel". World Factbook. CIA - Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  3. The energy island: Israel deals with its natural gas discoveries
  4. Shamir, Ronen (2013). Current Flow: The Electrification of Palestine. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  5. Israel's energy security:Regional implications
  6. Petroleum and Natural Gas Prospecting
  7. Blanche, Ed. "Israeli Gas Finds Could Prove A Game Changer." Middle East 416 (2010): 22-25.
  8. The World Factbook 2013-14. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2013.
  9. 1 2 3 4 "Israel - Country Analysis Note." U.S. Energy Information Administration, Mar. 2014.
  10. 1 2 Antreasyan, Anaïs. "Gas Finds in the Eastern Mediterranean" Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Spring 2013), pp. 29-47
  11. Ben-Shalom, Jeremy. "Israel: National Report for CDS" - 14/15 Thematic Areas.
  12. Bahgat, Gawdat. "Israel's Energy Security: Regional Implications." Middle East Policy 18.3 (2011): 25-34.
  13. Barkat, Amiram (July 18, 2012). "Electricity reserves dwindling precariously". Globes. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  14. Gutman, Lior (August 20, 2016). "Private Power Stations Now Produce 29% of Israel's Electricity". Calcalist (in Hebrew). Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  15. International Energy Agency (2015). "Key World Energy Statistics" (PDF). p. 52. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  16. International Energy Agency (2015). "Key World Energy Statistics" (PDF). p. 53. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  17. "Israel's 300 Days of Sun No Help as Offshore Gas Eclipses Solar". Bloomberg Businessweek. 10 September 2015.
  18. "Israel Should Develop Nuclear Energy". Agence France-Presse. 2007-01-23. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
  19. Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu: Japan situation has "caused me to reconsider" nuclear power Piers Morgan on CNN, published 2011-03-17, accessed 2011-03-17
  20. Israeli PM cancels plan to build nuclear plant, Xinhuanet, published 2011-03-18, accessed 2011-03-17
  21. Netanyahu: We'll reconsider nuclear power plans Ynetnews, published 2011-03-18, accessed 2011-03-17
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