Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi has launched an Israeli electric car, and also arranged for four recharging stations. Israel is a perfect place for this experiment, since it is a relatively small and compact country, so the present lack of range of most electric cars (70-150 miles) may not be an issue for a lot of Israelis. The commuters between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, e.g., could use it, especially if it was easy to charge the car while one is at work. If the recharging stations could be solar or receive their power from solar or wind electricity plants, this development could be significant. (Portugal is another good candidate for this sort of arrangement).
Agassi stresses that as long as petroleum reigns, Israel will remain hostage to oil producers hostile to his country. (The natural gas fields in the Mediterranean extend into neighbors’ territory and are more a war waiting to happen than salvation, not to mention that natural gas puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere). Thus, a move to wind and solar would help make Israel energy-independent and make it more secure.
In this light, the Likud government’s hope of getting 10% of its electricity from renewables by 2020 is laughably unambitious. Why isn’t Alon Tal’s Green Party more popular? Why do Israelis put up with an energy policy so beholden to petroleum producers such as Iran and Saudi Arabia?
Meanwhile, Arava Power is investing $200 million in 8 medium-sized solar power generating fields, in conjunction with Siemens, the German energy firm that owns 40% of Arava, and which is a major player in renewable energy.
Israel is a natural for solar power generation, with expanses of sunny desert and a large pool of engineers, scientists and inventors who are creating innovative solar technology such as reflector dishes
The China Bank is offering to fund such projects (China is another big solar player, and may be seeking access to Israeli solar technological breakthroughs).
Some of Israel’s Mediterranean coast is sufficiently low-lying, including the city of Tel Aviv, that the rising ocean levels that will be caused by global warming will submerge them over time. In past eras, an increase of 1 degree celsius translated into 10 to 20 meters increase in sea level. Even if we can hold our present increase to 3 degrees celsius through a crash global green energy program, that would be an increase of as much as 60 meters or 180 feet. Tel Aviv will certainly end up under water if humanity goes on spewing carbon dioxide into the air at this rate–not in this century, but over time. A majority of Israeli Jews live in and around Tel Aviv. Climate change is the real existential threat, not bluster from Iran.