Israel’s governmental energy agency said the country plans to build four major battery energy storage system (BESS) projects in the northern Gilboa mountain region. The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure on May 2 said the projects are the first step in a “program of great importance for the energy sector.”
The program is designed to support construction of large-scale energy storage facilities along the power grid. Officials on Tuesday said the program will enable the country to build BESS projects at strategic locations as needed by the transmission and distribution network, and also leverage different energy storage technologies.
Israel Katz, the energy and infrastructure minister, said the initial buildout will total 800 MW/3,200 MWh. The four facilities will each have 200 MW of capacity, and each will have four hours of storage duration. Katz said the large-scale storage projects are the “first of their kind” in Israel “with a significant capacity,” and represent the country’s continued move toward the use of more renewable energy resources.
Promoting Renewable Energy
“Storing the energy in this way will allow us to increase the production of renewable energies, improve the reliability of the electricity supply and stabilize the functioning of the network … steps that will directly contribute to the growth of the economy,” Katz said. “We are committed to promoting renewable energies and the current move is a significant step towards achieving this goal.”
Officials said a buildout of BESS projects also would help Israel’s power sector remain self-sufficient, without interconnection to neighboring countries’ power systems.
Israeli officials have a goal of supplying at least 30% of the country’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Much of that would come from the region’s abundant solar power resources. PUA, the country’s energy regulatory agency, has said Israel needs about 2 GW/8 GWh of energy storage online in order to best integrate renewable energy onto the power grid.
Abundant Natural Gas
Israel today burns fossil fuels for much of its electricity production, with natural gas—nearly all of it produced domestically—providing about two-thirds of power output.
The PUA in April of this year began a program to subsidize electricity customers that pair solar power with energy storage. The program is designed to reward those who store solar energy, then use that energy for their own use during periods of higher demand for electricity.
Officials said the projects in Gilboa will store energy from renewable energy projects across the northern part of Israel. That energy then can be sent to urban areas in Israel at times of peak electricity demand. The four BESS projects, spread across 71 acres, will be built near an existing national power transmission line. Israel’s northern region also is home to several existing and planned industrial complexes, along with numerous solar power arrays.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).