United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Israel

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Statement by
Ambassador Uzi Manor
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
During the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting
15th Commission on Sustainable Development
Agenda Item 2a: Policy options and possible actions to
expedite implementation
Energy for Sustainable Development (E/CN.17/2007/2)
(United Nations, New York, 27 February 2007)
Check Against Delivery
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Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We welcome the report of the Secretary General of the
UN on "Policy options and possible actions to expedite
implementation: Energy for Sustainable Development",
included in document E/CN 17/2007/2.
A few remarks concerning this report:
In regard to small-scale suppliers of energy services
(No.11), a successful example is a large PV project,
started in 2005, aimed at electrifying a Bedouin village in
the Negev desert. The village of Drijat, home to about
hundred families, is 6 km from the nearest grid.
Electricity was supplied by old and inefficient diesel
generators, which only worked a few hours a day. In the
first phase of the project, stand-alone PV systems were
provided to 20 homes, 6 lighting poles, a school and a
mosque. The home systems provide about 1000 watts of
peak power each, with batteries storing 14 kilowatts
(enough for 2-3 days of consumption). The total cost of
the first phase was 300,000 USD.
To assist in overcoming energy shortages (No.14, 21), let
us note that many countries possess significant resources
of oil shale. The potential is enormous. The reserves of
oil shale in the world are estimated to be about 1013 tons,
containing more than 1.6 trillion barrels of oil. Due to the
size of the occurrences, even "small" deposits can be
huge in relation to the energy needs of the country
concerned.
In Israel, extensive research, development and
demonstration work on oil shale utilization was carried
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out between 1982 and 2000. A techno-economical
evaluation completed in 2000 showed that a barrel of
synthetic oil from Israeli oil shale (which is particularly
lean) would cost about 27 USD. Because of very low oil
prices then, the project was terminated.
With increasing numbers of countries experiencing
declines in conventional oil production, and in view of
the recent strong increase in oil prices, shale oil
production, in an environmentally acceptable manner,
should be seriously considered.
There is no doubt that international support can and
should play an important role in promoting access to
energy by assisting developing countries (No.16).
A positive example of this is the Euro-Mediterranean
Energy Partnership for the years 2007-2012, under the
auspices of the European Union. The aim of this
initiative is a genuine Euro-Mediterranean energy policy
based on sustainable development (i.e., the equally
balanced objectives of security of supply,
competitiveness and transparency of markets) and on
protection of the environment.
Israel believes that international technical assistance is
very important to assess and advise on opportunities to
improve energy efficiency in all sectors (No.17).
Four times in the last twelve years, Israel has hosted an
international energy course on Management of Energy
Utilization and Conservation, aimed at developing
countries. The course was directed toward engineers,
scientists and other professionals in government services
(central and local), research institutes and private
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organizations. It was organized by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (Centre for International Cooperation ?
MASHAV) and the Ministry of National Infrastructures.
We are willing to continue this initiative.
We also think that switching fuel from coal to natural gas
could result in both improved energy efficiency and
climate change benefits (No.20). A switch from heavy
fuel oil to natural gas for electricity production is
presently underway in Israel. In the last two years,
natural gas consumption for the generation of electricity
increased from 0 to 18 per cent. A law mandating an
extensive reform of the electricity economy has been
approved by the Knesset (Israel's Parliament).
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, Israel agrees with the
policy options and possible actions that are listed in
Chapter V of the above mentioned report (No.47). In the
area of energy for sustainable development, international
cooperation is essential.
We encourage the promotion/implementation/expedition
of practical initiatives with measurable deliverables.
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