Energy Minister Landau demonstrates “cost-effective great light” in new initiative on Reading Power Station’s prominent chimney.

The habitually loathed chimney that juts out of north Tel Aviv’s Reading Power Station will now decorate the sky with green, orange and red illumination.

The Energy and Water Ministry launched this visual power meter on Wednesday night to regularly update Israelis on how much generating power is left in reserve.

The initiative, at a height of about 100 meters and a width of 6 meters, contains about 4.5 kilometers worth of track lighting with 270,000 LED lights, the ministry said. Remaining cost-effective and energy-efficient, the bulbs consume about 9 kilowatt-hours of electricity – equivalent to the energy use of about four electric water kettles.

“The project indicates that the celebration of a great light can be cost-effective,” Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said.

Artist and lighting designer Gil Teichman designed the meter to be able to demonstrate electricity demand versus production capacity in real time, the ministry said.

This is the latest step in the ministry’s efforts to encourage energy conservation by members of the public, particularly during a hot summer in which the country’s electricity reserves have narrowed to dangerously low levels.

Just two weeks ago, amid a nationwide heat wave, the power meter on the Israel Electric Corporation’s website consistently hit the alarming “orange” level, meaning that the demand was dangerously near to production capacity. At one point, on Wednesday, July 19, demand reached 11,680 megawatts, while installed capacity stood at only 11,880 MW.

Due to wide-scale efforts on the part of residents to conserve energy, however, the country was able to avoid blackouts.

India was not so lucky this week: Approximately 500 million people lost power for hours over the course of two days.

The grid disturbance there on Monday occurred in the Northern Region Grid, which led to power outages in eight states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, NCT of Delhi and Chandigarh Union Territory – the Indian Power Ministry said.

Power at railways and airports was restored by 8 a.m. that day, while the whole system recovered by 4 p.m.

A similar but larger collapse, however, occurred the next day at about 1 p.m., shutting down the power supply in the Northern, Eastern and North Eastern electricity grids. By 3:30 p.m., all emergency and essential services had power again, but the rest of the region only received electricity again at 8 p.m., the ministry said.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Power Minister Shri Moily assured journalists that his ministry would open investigations into the reasons for the collapse and has already appointed an expert committee.

Moily said he understood the importance of increasing grid capacity and that “maintaining grid discipline at all costs is of vital importance for all of us.”

Total installed capacity in India is much larger than that in Israel – 205,340.26 MW, with 42 percent of that from the “state sector,” 30.22% from the “central sector” and 27.75% of that from the private sector, according to the Power Ministry.

Of the totals, 56.65% – or 116,333.38 MW – comes from coal, 9.2% from natural gas and just over half a percent from oil.

Also making use of alternative sources, 19.13% of the power supply comes from hydroelectric power, 2.32% comes from nuclear and 12.09% collectively from solar, biogas, biomass, wind and urban and industrial waste.

While Israel may have been threatened with blackouts two weeks ago, Renewable Energy Association of Israel head Eitan Parnass told The Jerusalem Post that such outages were unlikely here.

“The grid in Israel is very modern,” Parnass said. “Something like this would be rare to happen in Israel.”