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New Israel Electric Power Plant Out of Gas

The new electric power plant in Ashdod is ready to go, except for one small detail – it has not been hooked up to the nation's natural gas line.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 7/21/2010, 10:49 AM / Last Update: 7/21/2010, 11:10 AM

Flash 90

The new electric power plant built in Ashdod is ready to go, except for one small detail – it has not been hooked up to the nation's natural gas line.

The 260-megawatt production unit at the Eshkol Power Unit, built at a cost of several hundred million dollars, won't begin full production until March 2011, according to the Globes business news service.

In fact, work has not yet even begun on the hook-up to the pipeline, a pressure reducing and metering station (PRMS) that will take an estimated eight months to build.

The essential component may cost Israelis another sweltering summer of brown-outs. Already in June, the Israel Electric Company found itself activating hundreds of smaller generators to meet a huge thirst for power throughout the country.

Instead, the new plant is being forced to resort to restricting its operations to peak hours only, using the more expensive and higher pollution-causing diesel fuel.

Meanwhile, the IEC's Engineering Projects Group SVP and general manager Yakov Hain praised the company's workers, explaining that “Construction and the coming on line within six months from the laying of the gas turbine on its foundations is an unprecedented achievement in IEC's history.”