Sunday, February 2, 2014

Israel's Emergency Gas

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
Israel is always in a state of emergency. That is a reality. Most of the time, we think Israel's emergencies concern safety and security. Truth is, the state of Israel's energy is another, large, all consuming concern.

Does Israel have enough electricity?

Israel's electricity is generated by natural gas. The gas powers the turbines that generate the electricity that lights up the country and keeps it functioning.

In order to avoid crisis, Israel has positioned a permanent liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker off the coast. When the need arises, it dumps the liquid into an underwater pipeline that feeds directly into the country's electric resources.

The tanker holds 138,000 cubic meters of LNG. After it is converted to gas and sent to the turbines, the tanker can produce 3000 megawatt hours of electricity --- which is enough to power 20% of Israel's total energy needs for one week.

The tanker and the buoy it is connected to when it delivers the gas is a way of keeping Israel safe. The tanker is always there and it is always filled. During the recent snowstorm that crippled the country the tanker deposited its gas and Israelis did not even feel that they were in a state of energy crisis.
The tanker costs $100 million and each load costs about $50 million. It is a small price to pay considering what would happen if the country went without electricity for even a fraction of an hour. 

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