Written by Rami Reshef, CEO of GenCell
The Israeli Knesset Finance Committee is convening these days to approve the carbon tax on polluting factories and producers. This taxation is necessary on the way to the environmental change that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has committed to - for Israel to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. While the carbon tax is a step in the right direction, it is in my view only one stage in the green revolution. While private and government agencies around the world are investing billions of dollars in the development of hydrogen technologies and infrastructure, Israel has not yet invested in clean energy in general and in hydrogen technologies in particular and there is no more time to sit idly by.
Currently, the market potential for renewable energy is estimated at 150 billion dollars, and the world is already taking steps to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 by utilizing hydrogen. Several countries have started implementing a range of solutions based on gray, blue, and green hydrogen production and use. For example, In the Saudi Arabian city of Neom near the Red Sea, American company Air Products plans to build an ammonia plant that will be a tool for storing and transporting hydrogen, with a $ 5 billion, 4-gigawatt investment. As well, Europe and Asia have announced billions of dollars in strategic plans. Accordingly, the supply of hydrogen generally, and green hydrogen in particular, increases significantly and becomes more available, while at the same time, the price of hydrogen decreases as infrastructure expands, similar to what has happened in the solar and wind energy markets.
Is Israel on the verge of a Green Revolution?
As of now, renewable energy sources in Israel account for 6% of total energy consumption. To align with the rest of the world and receive the benefits inherent in the amount of sun we are blessed with, it is necessary for Israel to remove many barriers and increase government and public sector investments in renewable energy. Once Israel starts using solar power to store energy in green hydrogen configurations, this will become a significant future energy source for the country. This effort must be supported by all relevant government ministries. Only with cooperation between all parties can we achieve accelerated and effective progress towards a hydrogen economy in Israel.
Energy companies in Israel can greatly benefit from investments in hydrogen production and transmission facilities, as well as supporting and developing innovative energy production solutions such as green ammonia. Some companies in Israel have already invested in the development of hydrogen technologies. For example, Israeli gas companies such as BAZAN Group have begun investing in hydrogen technologies. Sonol has announced plans to build a hydrogen gas station in the next three years, with financial assistance from the Ministry of Energy. The Israeli government company PEI (Energy Infrastructure Ltd.), which is responsible for Israel's fuel infrastructure, has also begun planning a national strategy plan for hydrogen storage.
To sum up, Israel has plenty of sunshine, making hydrogen a desirable green energy source. Israel's future hydrogen economy will demand the involvement of many private and public companies and both traditional and new energy providers. Similarly, changes are occurring in the Israeli energy economy as a result of a shift in trend and breakthroughs in hydrogen-based solutions in general and green hydrogen solutions in particular. With the rapid changes in global market conditions, the growing demand for electricity, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the importance of hydrogen in the Israeli market is only expected to increase. We better act fast before the last wagon of the hydrogen train disappears around the corner.