As a result of the ministry’s order, about 1.4 terawatts will be diverted from coal to natural gas in 2016.
To reduce air pollution in the Hadera region, the Environmental Protection Ministry has demanded that the Israel Electric Corporation significantly reduce its coal use at the Orot Rabin power station in 2016.

The Orot Rabin station in Hadera, according to a new series of conditions set by the ministry, will need to reduce its coal consumption by about 8-10 percent next year. As a result, about 1.4 terawatts of power will be using natural gas instead of coal – amounting to about 3 percent of the IEC’s total production, the ministry said. Such a diversion will generate $62.5 million in financial savings, as well as prevent the premature death of about 25 people per year due to reduced air pollution, it added.

“This is the first time that the ministry is ordering the IEC to reduce its use of coal, and we will continue to exercise our authority and follow suit at other sites,” Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay said. “We will work toward a situation in which the IEC makes use of a minimum amount of coal required – so that the stations pollute as little as possible.”

The ministry said it issued the emissions reductions demand following delays in the IEC’s installation of scrubbers – devices used to clean power plant exhaust fumes – and as a condition for approving a company request to further postpone final scrubber installations. In its order, the ministry is requiring the IEC to reduce coal use both to meet European directives and to ensure that emissions levels do not surpass those generated by units equipped with scrubbers.

“Limiting emissions at the Hadera power station is the first step, and following this, the use of coal will also be restricted at the Ashkelon power plant, due to scheduling delays in installing scrubbers at this station as well,” the ministry added.

The electricity sector is the country’s main produced of air pollution, as a result of fuel combustion, according to the ministry. Coal-fired power plants account for 80 percent of the pollution within the sector.

Installing scrubbers to clean up the coal units would prevent the premature deaths of 234 people annually, and would reduce emissions levels dramatically in both Hadera and Ashkelon, the ministry explained.

The IEC said that it had received the regulatory demands on Sunday morning.

“The company will operate in accordance with the regulatory orders, in accordance with the law and procedures,” the IEC said.