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Israel targets coal-for-power use at less than 10% of fuel mix by 2025

Israel hopes to reduce coal use to less than 10% of the fuel mix in theproduction of electricity by 2025, energy and water minister Yuval Steinitzsaid.

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Steinitz said that would be achieved by eventually shutting four of thecoal units at Hadera and replacing them with natural gas power plants. Thecoal units would then serve as a back-up in the event of an emergency.

The government target is for natural gas to account for 80% ofelectricity production, with 10% or more from renewables -- primarily solar --and the remainder from coal, Steinitz said.

Last year was the first in which natural gas was the dominant fuel in theproduction of electricity, accounting for over 50%.

Israeli coal consumption in 2016 amounted to 8.7 million mt, a drop of20%. Coal demand was expected to fall 10% this year due to the shutting downof a 575 MW unit at Israel Electric Corp's Hadera power complex to install anFGD system to reduce pollution.

Israel Electric operates four coal power plants at Hadera and Ashkelonwith a total installed capacity of 4,840 MW.

In December 2015, the energy and water ministry and the environmentalprotection ministry issued a directive mandating a 15% reduction in coal usein 2016 and a further 5% cut in 2017.

Israel has been sharply increasing the use of natural gas for theproduction of electricity in recent years following the discovery of hugeoffshore reserves off the country's Mediterranean coast.

Israel Electric imports coal from Australia, Colombia and South Africa.

--Neal Sandler, by Dan Lalor,