Israel Electric Corporation completes 1st stage of NIS 100m. project connecting private station to national grid.

The Israel Electric Corporation has completed the first stage in a NIS 100 million project to connect a huge private power station to the national grid.

Aiming to encourage private power producers to participate in Israel’s expanding energy market, the IEC has finished installing the first portion of a 161-kilowatt, high voltage line that will enable the connection of OPC Rotem’s future power plant to the grid.

The plant, located in Mishor Rotem near Dimona, will be able to transmit electricity through the 16-kilometer high voltage line to an IEC substation, where the electricity provided will be transmitted to the national grid, the IEC explained.

Completion of the high voltage line “is essential for the operation of the plant,” an IEC statement said.

The single-shaft combined cycle, natural gas OPC Rotem plant will have an installed capacity of 440 megawatts, and is slated to begin operating in the first quarter of 2013, according to the plant’s website. Held predominantly by IC Power, a member of the Israel Corporation Group, the plant requires about NIS 2.22 billion in construction fees.

“The mobilization of the company to connect a private power station is a statement of the IEC, which is seeking to encourage the entrance of private producers of electricity,” IEC chairman Yiftach Ron-Tal said.

“IEC is desperate for the entrance of private power producers and is doing everything possible in order to bring them into the general power production system.”

The IEC has already been working for several years to introduce private power producers into the system, and this is the most complex project in this effort to date – costing the company NIS 100 million for system upgrades, CEO Eli Glickman explained.

The company has used helicopters on difficult terrain, and despite extremely hot weather, the workers have come together to complete the project, so that private power can be on the grid as soon as possible, according to Glickman.

Only the night before, another private energy company, Edeltech, had likewise signed a financing agreement for the establishment of two power stations in Ashdod and Ramat Hovav, at a total cost of NIS 1.3 billion.

Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau praised the increased participation of private power suppliers in Israel’s energy ventures.

“Private power has become a major player in electricity generation in Israel,” Landau said.

“The entrance of new power plants will provide for a stable and reliable Israeli energy sector and will prevent shortages in the second half of the decade.”