Most Palestinian people have access to electricity, whether by the general electricity network or by small community diesel generators. However, the unusual constraints on the energy supply to Gaza and the West Bank mean that reliability of service is by no means guaranteed. About 95% of electricity consumed in West Bank and Gaza Strip is imported from Israeli power plants via 22 and 33 kV feeders and through three substations of 161/33 kV in the West Bank, while the remaining electricity is generated by decentralised small diesel generators.Some 79 localities in the West Bank are not connected to a public electricity network.
As part of a regional initiative for energy efficiency in Egypt and the Palestinian Authority (PA), with US$ 2.475 million Global environment Facility (GEF) financing, UNDP and the Palestinian Energy Authority launched an energy efficiency improvement project in 1998 to help reduce the long-term increase of GHG emissions from electric power generation and consumption of non-renewable fuel resources. To date, the main achievements of the project have been the establishment of a Palestinian Energy Information Centre along with technical capacity building of the Palestinian Energy Authority and various other stakeholders including electricity distribution companies. In addition, over 180 energy audits were conducted for large commercial/industrial firms, reducing the technical distribution losses in some targeted electricity distribution networks in the West Bank and increasing the energy efficiency of the local market through the introduction of energy efficient equipment and appliances. GEF is implementing initiatives to contribute to a measurable reduction in energy consumption in the building sector, and to produce global benefits by reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Activities include the development of a set of thermal building standards and the preparation of an Energy Efficient Building Code as well as the Guidelines for Energy Efficient Building Design for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Efforts also focus on institutional and human capacity building, specifically at the local level through the provision of training activities for professionals in the sector.Letter of sector policy (LSP), signed by the chairman of the Palestinian Energy Authority (PEA) and the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), sets out the PNA and PEA policy for the development of the power sector. While the PEA is fully committed to the following strategy, the implementation of the proposed reforms should be carefully sequenced and calibrated over the next two to three years. The main components of the medium term strategy of the PEA are to focus on:Rehabilitating the existing networks and services and extending services to currently non-served communities.Separating the policy and regulatory functions from the commercial functions of the power sector enterprises.Reorganizing the PEA to be the main policy making body for the sector.Encouraging maximum private sector participation in sector operations and development particularly in generation and distribution, thus minimizing the need for government financial support.Consolidating transmission networks, systems and functions in a new transmission company.Establishing three new autonomous and commercially oriented distribution utilities (one in Gaza and two in the West Bank) by consolidating the existing electricity departments of the municipalities and village councils.Increasing the operating/technical efficiency of the distribution utility companies through energy end use efficiency, energy conservation and better load management.Developing pragmatic and practical tariff setting guidelines that will permit full cost recovery and promote the commercial viability and feasibility of the sector enterprises while at the same time providing for “lifeline” rates for needy consumers.The Electricity Law was approved and enacted in May 2009.The President approved the establishment of the Palestinian Electricity Regulatory Commission (PERC) in February 2010.The Palestinian Authority's Energy Sector Strategy (2011-2013).The current major restructuring of the Palestinian energy sector provides an opportunity to consider greater use of renewable energy. However, the Palestinian Authority has yet to incorporate renewable energy into its energy planning. Its hopes for increased energy security rest on future exploitation of the Gaza Marine gas field and modernisation of power transmission and distribution networks. Pursuit of these goals is reinforced by donor commitments from the international community and advice from the World Bank, which conducted a recent Energy Sector Review at the request of the Palestinian Authority.
Solar energyThe average solar insulation in Palestine is 5.4 kWh/m2/day, indicating a high potential. According to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, parts of the West Bank, in the Jordan Valley, receive high radiation levels of 5.40-5.98 kWh per day annually. Total annual sunshine is approximately 3,000h. These are excellent conditions for harnessing solar energy for both large-scale and stand-alone applications. The potential of solar sources is estimated to account for 13% of electricity demand. In addition, domestic solar water heating (SWH) is widely used in Palestine - it is estimated that at least 70% of houses have such systems. SWH has proved to be feasible compared with other alternatives. For example, the energy cost from solar heater is about $ 0.17/Kwh and is much cheaper than the electricity price from the grid,($0.11/Kwh). A solar thermal plant for warm water supply and central heating came online in December 2009. The Palestinian Authority, however, has yet to take renewable energy into consideration in energy planning.Wind energyTwo companies, Israel Wind Power based in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv and Brothers Engineering Group from Bethlehem in the West Bank, have announced their intention to cooperate in the building and selling of wind turbines in the West Bank region and beyond. Average wind speeds in the country vary from 3-4 m/s in coastal regions, to 6-10 m/s in more elevated areas of the country, indicating a moderate potential for wind power. Using a 100-m wind turbine with blade length of 52 m and power coefficient of 0.4, the annual power that can be generated is 3.3 and 3.8 GWh for the northern and southern West Bank, respectively. Using a wind farm of 50 turbines, each would generate 355 GWh/year, which could account for 6.6% of the electricity need in the Palestinian Territories. The high density of buildings and the scarcity of open and empty lands in the Gaza Strip obviate the possibility of building wind farms there. However, offshore wind farms could be installed in the Mediterranean Sea, were it not for present political obstacles. Today, the only large-scale wind turbine in the Palestinian Territories is at the Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron. This turbine provides 40% of the hospital’s energy needs. The low speed winds in the Palestinian Territories may encourage using wind energy in stand-alone systems to provide small electricity loads.Geothermal energyMiddle East and North Africa Geothermal (MENA, www.menageothermal.com) announced in June 2010 the opening of the country's first geothermal power plant in Ramallah, with a 23kW cooling load and a 21kW heating load.Biomass energyPalestine is an agricultural country, with many different types of plant products that can be used as energy sources. The main source is a rejected residue of olive oil pressers called Jefit. Usually, Jefit is used in households for heating in the winter. Annual production of Jefit had been not assessed yet but there are plans to do so in cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. From agricultural residues, 22,800 tons of diesels can be generated, which could account for nearly 5% of the national diesel consumption.BiogassAssuming 50% collection, the availability of fresh manure of medium-size cattle in the Palestinian Territories amounts to approximately 165,000 kg per day. If 20 kg of wet mass of manure produces 1 m3 of gas at 25 ◦C, then the total biogas production for the Palestinian Territories’ amount of cattle would be 8250 m3 per day. Similarly, assuming 50% collection, the availability of fresh manure of goats and sheep amounts to 50,000 kg per day. Based on the literature, 6 kg of wet mass produces 0.5 m3 gas per day at 25 ◦C, and produces a total of 4166 m3 of gas per day. Combined with the cattle’s biogas production, the Palestinian Territories could produce 12,416 m3 of biogas per day or approximately 4.5 million m3 per year. The produced biogas could account for 10–20% of cooking energy needs for the rural population.HydropowerHydro-electric potential in the country is limited, with no major resource survey as yet conducted.