The head of the Palestine Energy Authority, Omar Kittaneh, told Haaretz on Tuesday that the Palestinian Investment Fund had received a provisional permit in recent weeks and would soon publish tenders for building a $600 million power station.
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Unlike the diesel plant in Gaza, the new power station will operate on natural gas, which should lower costs. Israel will supply the gas from the Leviathan gas field, according to the plan.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Gen. Yoav Mordechai, wrote on his Facebook page that the project is very important for the Palestinians and that he would work to advance it and ensure its prompt completion.
The station is planned to supply 450 megawatts of electricity to West Bank residents, mainly in the northern areas.
The Israel Electric Corporation provides most of the electricity to the territories, about 800 megawatts to the West Bank and 120 megawatts to Gaza. However, it does not meet the demand and consumption.
The Jordanians provide an electricity line in the Jericho area, while Palestinians in Gaza receive between 20 megawatts and 30 megawatts from Egypt.
The Gaza power station only operates a few hours a day, using diesel fuel that the PA purchases from Paz. Gazan residents have to put up daily with electricity cutoffs for hours at a time, both because of a lack of diesel or because of breakdowns at the station and a lack of spare parts and maintenance.
IEC officials said that the company is preparing to compete in the tender to provide planning and implementation services to build the project.
Meanwhile, the IEC is still in talks with representatives of the PA and the Jerusalem District Electricity Company over the Palestinian’s cumulative 1.7 billion shekel ($451 million) debt.