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Israel cancels coal-fired power plant plans

Tel Aviv — Israel's Energy and Water and Finance Ministries have decided to cancel plans to build a fifth coal-fired plant, the Energy and Water Ministry confirmed on Thursday.

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The project was first approved in 2001 prior to the discovery of huge offshore natural gas reserves.

The two ministries agreed to remove the proposed project -- delayed for years -- from the development program of the state-owned Israel Electric Corp.

Following the discovery of the offshore gas environmental, groups and residents of Ashkelon, where the 1150 MW plant was to have been built, mounted a campaign against building a new coal plant.

The latest decision is in line with moves by Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinmetz to reduce coal use in Israel.

The ministry mandated a 15% reduction in coal consumption at the country's four coal plants in 2016 and a further 5% reduction this year.

Coal consumption in the first half of 2016 totaled 4.3 million mt from 5.315 million mt in H1 2015.

Israel Electric has not yet released its 2016 annual report but energy sources said the company's coal consumption was less than 10 million mt last year and is expected to drop further still this year.

In addition, the ministry decided last year that beginning in 2021 the four Orot Rabin units (1440 MW) will be shut down and or converted to natural gas.

--Neal Sandler,
--Edited by Jonathan Fox,