COGAT, the IDF unit responsible for implementing government policy in Judea and Samaria and vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip, said a gas power plant in the Jenin industrial zone “would cause a qualitative shift in electricity consumption which will have a positive impact on all aspects of life.”
Israel has given initial approval to a Palestinian request to build a power plant in the Jenin area in Samaria, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said on Tuesday.
In a statement released in Arabic, COGAT, the IDF unit responsible for implementing government policy in Judea and Samaria and vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip, said the project for a gas power plant in the Jenin industrial zone “would cause a qualitative shift in electricity consumption which will have a positive impact on all aspects of life.”
The power plant, which will take four years to build, will produce 450 Megawatts of electricity and will “reduce electricity bills and protect the environment.”
COGAT added that it planned to intensify its efforts to see the project through in cooperation with relevant Israeli ministries and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) Chairman Muhammad Mustafa, a confidante of PA head Mahmoud Abbas and former deputy prime minister who submitted the construction request to COGAT, said in a statement on Tuesday that the projected plant would cover 50 percent the PA’s electricity needs, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.
The power plant, Mustafa said, “will be built by Palestinian efforts and capacities, benefiting from international experience in this field.”
The construction is expected to cost $620 million, with the station expected to start running by the end of 2019, he added.
Mustafa emphasized that “no Israeli companies have been contracted for the construction of the station or for providing gas.”
His statement comes more than a year after the Palestine Power Generation Company (PPGC) announced it would terminate a $1.2 billion deal with the Israeli-American Leviathan reservoir partners that would have supplied natural gas to a future Palestinian power plant.
Israel’s Ynet news reported that the project still needed to be referred to “relevant Israeli ministries” for final approval.
Israel is hoping to advance the Palestinian power project so as to eventually disconnect them from the Israeli grid, a connection which has generated financial and technical difficulties for Israel’s Electrical Company (IEC).
In the meantime, the PA still owes a massive debt to the IEC, which provides around 88 percent of total electricity consumption to the PA.
The PA and IEC have reportedly arrived at a partial settlement agreement.