The plant has a capacity of 1,000 megawatt (MW), 10% of Israel’s power capacity. The Eshkol plant is the first in Israel to convert to natural gas. The Yam Thetis partnership, controlled by Delek Group, is supplying the gas. The plant began its gradual switch to natural gas a month ago. Natural gas is cheaper and creates less pollution than crude oil.
The steam unit of the combined cycle power plant will go into operation in 2005, thereby increasing the IEC’s power capacity by 140 MW, without any added fuel consumption.
IEC president and CEO Jacob Ratzon told Globes that the company’s development plans were based on an initial conversion of 28% of its capacity to natural gas. He added that natural gas emits less carbon dioxide due to a more efficient burning process.
In addition to the conversion of the Reading Plant in Tel Aviv and the Haifa power station from crude oil to natural gas, the IEC is building eight combined cycle power plants, all of which will be also powered by natural gas.