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Get to know the project that will make the Gaza Envelope region the leader in energy innovation

Tractor in front of security room, Kibbutz Netiv Ha'Asara. Photo credit: MathKnight
This is an extraordinary move involving an investment of millions of shekels, and a powerful message for all involved. As the Rabbis teach regarding the destruction of Jerusalem in the ancient times, there is a connection between mourning and meriting to see it rebuilt: “All who mourn [the destruction of] Jerusalem will merit to see it in its joy.” Perhaps the same applies to the destruction of other areas of the Land of Israel.

The restoration of the envelope is a first-rate national task that is progressing in its various aspects.

The government decided to allocate NIS 3 billion to the Takuma Administration this year, out of a total plan of NIS 19 billion over 5 years.

One interesting aspect of restoration is in the field of energy. For these ambitious plans in the field, the word “rehabilitation” already seems less appropriate; “upgrading” or “revolution” are more fitting.

It is precisely the major damage to the Gaza strip that leads to major construction and growth – an opportunity to create impressive plans and to create a symbol and example by an entire region of land that is based on clean energy and advanced infrastructure, through government support and careful participation of the residents in decisions.

In November 2023, the Ministry of Energy revealed a broad plan in the field of energy production in the surrounding area. The Minister of Energy at the time, Israel Katz (Likud) said at the time: “We will turn the Gaza Strip into an ‘energy island’ that will be a global model of advanced and renewable energy. We will build storage infrastructures, R&D centers, gas infrastructures and more in the envelope.”

In the office, we planned an addition of 5 gigawatts of solar panels – which require close to 50 thousand dunams. Energy resilience will be achieved thanks to burying power lines in the ground, installing local storage facilities, and local network management, which enables functioning even in situations of disconnection from the national power grid.

Currently, there is a process in the region to build solar panels over nearly 20,000 dunams – about half of them are already being built, and the rest are in approval and construction procedures. In addition to this, the plan also presented an upgrade to the water and sewer infrastructure in the region.

The Ministry of Energy announced that they will offer consultation services to the surrounding communities, which will help them get a clear picture of the method of operation that is suitable for each settlement – the possibility of burying power lines, storage systems, or the addition of solar panels on built-up areas.

The process will be graduated, through pilots, where the big question today is how to allocate the money between the localities.

Gilad Yabetz, the father of the late Capt. Yiftah Yabetz who fell in the battles in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, is the CEO of Enlight Renewable Energy Company. Gilad decided to take Kibbutz Nahal Oz and adopt it, with a series of innovative projects in the field of energy.

In an interview with The Calcalist Newspaper, he said: “I am happy that close and extraordinary relations have been established with the kibbutz community and its leaders and with the Bazan Company led by Major General Moshe Kaplinsky, which is our full partner in the process and made itself available to the kibbutz from the first moment. The people of Nahal Oz and I will heal together, with each other’s strengths.”

Yabetz also said that green infrastructures of solar electricity and a distributed grid are less vulnerable to rocket attacks compared to the existing electricity grid which is based on large stations fed by gas rigs, which themselves constitute a target for attacks.

 

 

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