On Sunday, June 12, I toured the Israel Natural Gas Lines Ltd. (Natgaz) power station outside of Ashkelon with the Committee on Citizen Affairs. Natgaz is a public company responsible for establishing and maintaining the national distribution system of natural gas – from the relatively new gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea to customers in Israel and abroad. As the Subcommittee learned at the plant, natural gas is improving the Israeli economy, strengthening Israeli energy independence, and nourishing regional peace through natural gas sales to nearby countries such as Egypt and Jordan.
I was impressed by the company’s professional corporate culture, serious and open management, and how it allows Israel to move forward from coal-based electricity production. However, it was impossible to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling: increasing infrastructure for the huge amount of natural gas found in the territorial waters of Israel may create complacency, detracting from the urgent need to promote and develop renewable energy options.
Even if we take advantage of this resource, we must not become addicted to it. While natural gas emits about 50% less carbon dioxide than coal and that its gas emissions are infinitely less harmful to human health, during its production, natural gas produces methane – whose carbon footprint is 80 times that of CO2 over twenty years.
We must ensure that use of natural gas is only a temporary stage until the full transition to a clean, carbon-zero energy country. Renewable energies from the sun, wind and hydrogen must be the long-term goal. Read more here.