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Palestine (2012)

Source: REEEP Policy Database (contributed by SERN for REEEP)

Energy sources

Total Installed Electricity Capacity (2009): 0.14 GWe
In 2009, net generation of electricity was 0.47 billion kilowatthours and net consumption was 4.47 billion kilowatthours.

In Gaza:
Electricity production (2011 est.): 51,000 kWh
Electricity consumption (2009): 202,000 kWh
Electricity import (2011 est.): 193,000 kWh
In West Bank:
Electricity production (2011 est.): 0 kWh
Electricity consumption (2009): 550 million kWh
Electricity import (2011 est.): 550 million kWh

Total primary energy supply (2009): 38,368 Terajoules
Fossil fuels: 78% (Diesel 62%, LPG 19%, Gasoline 17% and Others 2%)
Renewable energy: 22% (Solar energy 56%, Wood 43%, and Olive cake 1%)
Solar energy is from solar water heaters; and the biomass is used for heating.

The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) is the only significant generation capacity in Gaza or the West Bank, with a capacity of 140MW.

The energy situation in Palestine is somewhat unique compared to other countries in the Middle East. There are virtually no available natural resources. Gaza’s isolation presents technical and political challenges for transporting, storing, importing and exporting energy.

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Presently, the territories are 100% dependent on fuel imported through Israel for power generation, gasoline etc. Israel also controls energy imports into Palestine and thus there is no trade in electricity and petroleum products between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and other countries. Only 9% of electricity was generated in the Gaza Strip by the Palestine Electric Company; and the rest was imported from Jordan to power Jericho in the West Bank (1%); from Egypt to power Rafah in the Gaza Strip (3%) and from Israel to power most of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (87%). The Palestinian reliance on Israel for the majority of its fuel imports is complicated not only by the political situation but also by the fact that Israel relies predominantly on fossil fuels for its own electricity, as well. The Palestinian energy demand is an additional burden on Israeli production and distribution systems, with the country’s own domestic, rapidly increasing needs.

In Gaza, approximately 120 MW of electricity is supplied from Israel Electricity Company (IEC) via 22 kV lines and up to 17 MW from Egypt since 2006 as an emergency measure via two 22 kV feeder lines.

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Extend network

Most Palestinian people have access to electricity, whether by the general electricity network or by small community diesel generators. However, the unusual constraints on the energy supply to Gaza and the West Bank mean that reliability of service is by no means guaranteed. About 95% of electricity consumed in West Bank and Gaza Strip is imported from Israeli power plants via 22 and 33 kV feeders and through three substations of 161/33 kV in the West Bank, while the remaining electricity is generated by decentralised small diesel generators.

Some 79 localities in the West Bank are not connected to a public electricity network.

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Capacity concerns

Energy consumption per capita for the Palestinian Territories in 2006 did not exceed 0.3 toe, which is the lowest in the region. Energy costs more than anywhere else in the region and constitutes a higher proportion of household expenditure. In 2009, the electricity consumption was 3,808 GWh in the West Bank and 1,606 GWh in the Gaza Strip, the lowest consumption rates in the region. According to World Bank and PEA reports and the Palestinian Authority's Energy Sector Strategy (2011-2013), consumption of electricity in the West Bank grew at 6.4% annually from 1999 to 2005 and 8% between 2006 and 2010, and is projected to grow steadily at a rate of about 7% from 2011-2013.

Palestine's sole diesel-generated power plant, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP), has struggled to operate at more than half capacity since 2006 and especially since 2009 when the Israeli Air Force attacked it and when European Union funding of fuel shipments ceased. Thus, the maximum dispatchable capacity of the GPP is restricted to 60 MW while its generating capacity is 140 MW. If the available capacity from GPP ranges from 30 to 60 MW, total electricity supply would range from 167 to 197 MW. Consumption of electricity in Gaza grew on average at about 10% annually from1999 to 2005; however, in recent years, electricity demand and growth in Gaza have been limited by the shortage of supply, damage to electricity networks and the blockade. Total peak electricity demand in Gaza was estimated at 280 MW in 2010 which was much higher than available capacity. To cope with the situation, 8-hour electricity outages have been scheduled daily, impacting the everyday lives of Gaza’s population. GEDCO estimates the number of people impacted during hourly electricity cuts at: (i) 605,400 (40.4% of people) at 167 MW and 444,600 (29.6% of people) at 197 MW. The shortage of electricity is further exacerbated by the deteriorated conditions of the electricity networks and other network problems in Gaza: the capacity of the voltage feeders and networks; high network losses reaching up to 30% of electricity supply.

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Renewable energy

Solar energy
The average solar insulation in Palestine is 5.4 kWh/m2/day, indicating a high potential. According to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, parts of the West Bank, in the Jordan Valley, receive high radiation levels of 5.40-5.98 kWh per day annually. Total annual sunshine is approximately 3,000h. These are excellent conditions for harnessing solar energy for both large-scale and stand-alone applications. The potential of solar sources is estimated to account for 13% of electricity demand. In addition, domestic solar water heating (SWH) is widely used in Palestine - it is estimated that at least 70% of houses have such systems. SWH has proved to be feasible compared with other alternatives. For example, the energy cost from solar heater is about $ 0.17/Kwh and is much cheaper than the electricity price from the grid,($0.11/Kwh). A solar thermal plant for warm water supply and central heating came online in December 2009. The Palestinian Authority, however, has yet to take renewable energy into consideration in energy planning.

Wind energy
Two companies, Israel Wind Power based in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv and Brothers Engineering Group from Bethlehem in the West Bank, have announced their intention to cooperate in the building and selling of wind turbines in the West Bank region and beyond. Average wind speeds in the country vary from 3-4 m/s in coastal regions, to 6-10 m/s in more elevated areas of the country, indicating a moderate potential for wind power. Using a 100-m wind turbine with blade length of 52 m and power coefficient of 0.4, the annual power that can be generated is 3.3 and 3.8 GWh for the northern and southern West Bank, respectively. Using a wind farm of 50 turbines, each would generate 355 GWh/year, which could account for 6.6% of the electricity need in the Palestinian Territories. The high density of buildings and the scarcity of open and empty lands in the Gaza Strip obviate the possibility of building wind farms there. However, offshore wind farms could be installed in the Mediterranean Sea, were it not for present political obstacles. Today, the only large-scale wind turbine in the Palestinian Territories is at the Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron. This turbine provides 40% of the hospital’s energy needs. The low speed winds in the Palestinian Territories may encourage using wind energy in stand-alone systems to provide small electricity loads.

Geothermal energy
Middle East and North Africa Geothermal (MENA, announced in June 2010 the opening of the country's first geothermal power plant in Ramallah, with a 23kW cooling load and a 21kW heating load.

Biomass energy
Palestine is an agricultural country, with many different types of plant products that can be used as energy sources. The main source is a rejected residue of olive oil pressers called Jefit. Usually, Jefit is used in households for heating in the winter. Annual production of Jefit had been not assessed yet but there are plans to do so in cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. From agricultural residues, 22,800 tons of diesels can be generated, which could account for nearly 5% of the national diesel consumption.

Assuming 50% collection, the availability of fresh manure of medium-size cattle in the Palestinian Territories amounts to approximately 165,000 kg per day. If 20 kg of wet mass of manure produces 1 m3 of gas at 25 ◦C, then the total biogas production for the Palestinian Territories’ amount of cattle would be 8250 m3 per day. Similarly, assuming 50% collection, the availability of fresh manure of goats and sheep amounts to 50,000 kg per day. Based on the literature, 6 kg of wet mass produces 0.5 m3 gas per day at 25 ◦C, and produces a total of 4166 m3 of gas per day. Combined with the cattle’s biogas production, the Palestinian Territories could produce 12,416 m3 of biogas per day or approximately 4.5 million m3 per year. The produced biogas could account for 10–20% of cooking energy needs for the rural population.

Hydro-electric potential in the country is limited, with no major resource survey as yet conducted.

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Energy efficiency

The Palestinian Authority established the Palestinian Energy and Environment Research Centre in 1993 as a national research and development institution responsible for research and implementation of renewable energies and energy efficiency. From 2007, it has been under the control of the Palestinian Energy Authority. The centre also conducts feasibility studies into the uptake of various renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency strategies.

Despite using relatively small amounts of energy per capita, energy efficiency was low in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and had worsened throughout the 1990s, resulting in unnecessary releases of GHGs to the atmosphere. The UNDP and Palestinian Energy Authority launched an energy efficiency improvement project in 1998.

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The independent power system of Palestine is still under construction and rehabilitation.  Following extensive damage in July 2006, the Gaza Power Plant is now partially operational, producing one third of its full 140MW capacity. Although natural gas was the intended fuel for the station, inconsistency of supply has meant conversion to diesel fuel as an energy source.

Israel Electricity Company (IEC, supplies electricity to the West Bank and Gaza with over 85% market share, making it the largest provider of electricity. The West Bank is highly dependent on electricity from the IEC at a reported 2,735,650 MWh, which makes up about 98% of total electricity supplied in 2008. The remaining marginal supply of 2% comes from cross-border connections with Jordan. While in Gaza, the electricity comes from three different sources: (i) import from IEC, (ii) import from Egypt, and (iii) the Gaza Power Plant (GPP).

Electricity transmission to West Bank and Gaza is handled through IECs medium voltage lines (22kV or 33kV), while distribution networks are rather fragmented and have been handled by a combination of distribution utilities and municipalities.

The PEA created three additional electricity distribution companies: the Northern Electric Distribution Company (NEDCO) in the northern region of the West Bank in January 2008 to service Nablus and Jenin; the Hebron Electric Power Company (HEPCO) and Southern Electric Power Company (SELCO) around 2003-2004 in the southern region of the West Bank to join the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO), the long-established utility serving the central area around Jerusalem, to serve the entire West Bank and part of Jerusalem. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO), established in 1998, serves Gaza. The new utilities would be owned jointly by the PEA, the municipalities and village councils in the respective regions. The new utilities would own the distribution networks, be responsible for service delivery and operations within their regions. They would do so within the overall policy framework established under the LSP and as administered by PEA. While privatization of the utilities is not considered practicable at this stage, provision would be made for significant private participation within (5) years.

Palestine is wholly dependent on Israel for imports of petroleum through agreements between the Palestinian Petroleum Commission and private Israeli companies. Although the authority is estimated to hold 1.4 Tcf of natural gas within its territorial waters, development of the resource is limited, due to Palestine's small demand.

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Due to the highly limited nature of the Palestinian energy network, the Gaza Power Generating Company (GPGC, is the sole generating operator in the country.

In order to increase system capacity and reduce supply dependency on Israel, the PEA will encourage the creation of new generating capacity within Palestine.  The PEA will encourage maximum participation by the private sector.  Therefore, an agreement has been reached with the private sector, Palestine Electric Company (PEC) which will build a power plant in the Gaza Governorates.

From 1994 until 2006 a single Israeli company, Dor Alon, was contracted to supply petroleum to the West Bank and Gaza, though another Israeli company, Paz Oil, was contracted in 2007 to supply the West Bank. Dor Alon owns the sole terminal – Nahaz Oz in
Israel – for transporting fuel along a 700m pipeline to a reception terminal in Gaza.

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Energy framework

As part of a regional initiative for energy efficiency in Egypt and the Palestinian Authority (PA), with US$ 2.475 million Global environment Facility (GEF) financing, UNDP and the Palestinian Energy Authority launched an energy efficiency improvement project in 1998 to help reduce the long-term increase of GHG emissions from electric power generation and consumption of non-renewable fuel resources. To date, the main achievements of the project have been the establishment of a Palestinian Energy Information Centre along with technical capacity building of the Palestinian Energy Authority and various other stakeholders including electricity distribution companies. In addition, over 180 energy audits were conducted for large commercial/industrial firms, reducing the technical distribution losses in some targeted electricity distribution networks in the West Bank and increasing the energy efficiency of the local market through the introduction of energy efficient equipment and appliances. GEF is implementing initiatives to contribute to a measurable reduction in energy consumption in the building sector, and to produce global benefits by reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Activities include the development of a set of thermal building standards and the preparation of an Energy Efficient Building Code as well as the Guidelines for Energy Efficient Building Design for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Efforts also focus on institutional and human capacity building, specifically at the local level through the provision of training activities for professionals in the sector.

Letter of sector policy (LSP), signed by the chairman of the Palestinian Energy Authority (PEA) and the President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), sets out the PNA and PEA policy for the development of the power sector. While the PEA is fully committed to the following strategy, the implementation of the proposed reforms should be carefully sequenced and calibrated over the next two to three years. The main components of the medium term strategy of the PEA are to focus on:

  • Rehabilitating the existing networks and services and extending services to currently non-served communities.
  • Separating the policy and regulatory functions from the commercial functions of the power sector enterprises.
  • Reorganizing the PEA to be the main policy making body for the sector.
  • Encouraging maximum private sector participation in sector operations and development particularly in generation and distribution, thus minimizing the need for government financial support.
  • Consolidating transmission networks, systems and functions in a new transmission company.
  • Establishing three new autonomous and commercially oriented distribution utilities (one in Gaza and two in the West Bank) by consolidating the existing electricity departments of the municipalities and village councils.
  • Increasing the operating/technical efficiency of the distribution utility companies through energy end use efficiency, energy conservation and better load management.
  • Developing pragmatic and practical tariff setting guidelines that will permit full cost recovery and promote the commercial viability and feasibility of the sector enterprises while at the same time providing for “lifeline” rates for needy consumers.

The Electricity Law was approved and enacted in May 2009.

The President approved the establishment of the Palestinian Electricity Regulatory Commission (PERC) in February 2010.

The Palestinian Authority's Energy Sector Strategy (2011-2013).

The current major restructuring of the Palestinian energy sector provides an opportunity to consider greater use of renewable energy. However, the Palestinian Authority has yet to incorporate renewable energy into its energy planning. Its hopes for increased energy security rest on future exploitation of the Gaza Marine gas field and modernisation of power transmission and distribution networks. Pursuit of these goals is reinforced by donor commitments from the international community and advice from the World Bank, which conducted a recent Energy Sector Review at the request of the Palestinian Authority.

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Energy debates

Current debates on energy in Palestine include the security of future energy supply, and development of the region's electricity capacity and network.

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Energy studies

In 2007, the World Bank published Energy Sector Review which examined the challenges facing the energy sector in West Bank and Gaza.

Energy Profile and the Potential of Renewable Energy Sources in Palestine
Imad Ibrik
Director: Energy Research Centre, An-Najh National
University, Nablus, PO Box 7,Palestine

Palestine: RE action plan : Moving away from traditional energy resources,
Awny Naima and Mohammad R Al-Agha

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Role of government

Due to the lack of a sovereign government in the country, the role of government in energy policy is handled by the Palestinian Energy Authority (PEA, The PEA was established according to a presidential decree issued on November 14, 1994.  Dr. Abdul Rahman Hamad was appointed to be the chairman of the PEA on February 26, 1995 (decision No. 12 of 1995).  PEA is an independent institution, has its own budget and follows the directions of the President of the Palestinian National Authority. The PEA’s objectives and priorities include:

  • Providing the citizens of Palestine with reliable electricity at affordable prices.
  • Laying the legal, institutional, economic, financial and technical basis for efficient system development.
  • Reforming the institutional framework.  This includes overall sector coordination, policy formation, system development, generation, transmission, distribution, tariffs and regulation.  The PEA will continue to be the sole PNA agency responsible for these critical national functions.  The PEA will also continue to be responsible for other components such as rural electrification, regional interconnection, energy conservation and research that cannot be commercialized.  Tariff setting and regulation will be overseen by a separate independent commission reporting to the PEA.   
  • Remedying system deficiencies and improving service delivery.  Additionally, focusing on rehabilitation of the existing networks and extend services to currently non-served communities.
  • Supervising technically the construction, the operation, and the maintenance of electrical projects and networks.
  • Conducting researches and studies and searching for all energy resources.

Palestinian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources is responsible for managing the Palestinian energy sector, including policy formulation, development, restructuring, & coordination.

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Government agencies

Renewable Energy Department (RED) in PEA has aims and duties:

  • Setting policies with regard to the energy conservation and to exploit the advantages of its resources in Palestine;
  • To start laying out plans and special studies related with Palestinian rural electrification (solar and wind energy);
  • Establishing modern and developed meteorological station to collect climate data throughout the year like temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, sunshine-hour, wind speed and its direction, in which to be the core in establishing the Atlas of climate data in Palestine;
  • Establishing test labs to select specific equipment’s in renewable energy in particular, solar and wind energy;
  • To exchange experiences at locally and international level with institution and research centers in renewable energy fields; and
  • To participate in seminars, workshops at local and international level.

The Palestinian Energy and Environment Research Center (PEC, is a national R&D institution responsible for research and implementation of renewable energies and energy efficiency in Palestine. Its mission includes abatement of GHG emissions and clean environment. PEC was established in 1993, followed to Palestinian energy Authority (PEA) and achieved by its chairman.
PEC is linked with national, regional, and international partners through a very strong network based on partnership. PEC has independent financial management audited by both Palestinian Energy Authority and Ministry of Finance.

The Palestinian Energy Scientific Center (PESC) is a governmental institutional that was initiated in June 1998 within the quarters of the Palestinian Energy Authority (PEA). PESC establishers are highly qualified scientists and engineers working in research and development in An Najah National University in Nablus (ANNU), Palestinian Polytechnic Institute (PPI) in Hebreon, Azher University in Gaza, (AUG) Islamic University in Gaza, (IU) the College of Science & Engineering in Khan-younis(CSE),and the Renewable Energy Department of the PEA. Hence, PESC offers capabilities, Knowledge and experience in all fields of energy, renewable energy, water and environment.

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Energy procedure

Responsibilities of the PEC include:

  • Efficient utilization of renewable energy resources and raising its contribution in the energy balance sheet.
  • Raising energy efficiency for lower energy bills and environment protection.
  • Provision of scientific and technological research facilities.
  • Provision of studies and technical consultancy to decision makers, end users and interested bodies in public and private sectors.
  • Awareness dissemination, know-how transfer and upgrading of technical capacities for the new technologies.

The PEA has taken major strides towards the goal of having an independent energy supply.  It is agreed that the project will be implemented in two phases. Each phase will have a twenty-year term on a Build, Own, Operate, and Transfer (BOOT) basis. The transfer of electricity to the West Bank can be achieved through a wheeling arrangement with the IEC or a transmission line corridor. The PEA will establish a public company (Palestine Energy Transmission Company Limited PETL) which would eventually own, operate and develop the transmission network.  The board of the PETL would enter into power purchase agreements with independent and semi-independent generating companies and from neighbouring countries and would sell power to regional distribution utilities.

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Energy regulator

The PEA is responsible for overall sector coordination, policy formulation, system development, generation, transmission, distribution, tariffs and regulation. Tariff setting and regulation will be overseen by a separate independent commission reporting to the PEA.

The establishment of the Palestinian Electricity Regulatory Commission (PERC) was approved by the President in February 2010.

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Regulatory framework

No dedicated policy framework exists for sustainable energy in the country, although promotion of the technologies is part of the mandate of the PERC.

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Energy regulation role

No other government department takes an active role in energy regulation.

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Regulatory barriers

Renewable energy policies and strategies are not yet integrated into national energy policies.

  • Financial resources for renewable energy investments remain limited.
  • Coordination of efforts and experiences between concerned parties is limited.
  • Databases, technology transfer and local manufacture activities are insufficient.
  • Capacity-building programmes are limited.
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World Bank (2011) ‘Project Information Document – GZ-Gaza Electricity Network Rehab’, available from: [Accessed 28 July 2013].

World Bank (2007) ‘West Bank and Gaza Energy Sector Review’, available from: [Accessed 28 July 2013].

UNDP (c2009) ‘0209 Green Book Interiors - Arab States Spotlight: Occupied Palestinian Territories’ available from: [Accessed 28 July 2013]

EIA (2011) ‘Country Analysis Briefs: Palestinian Territories’, Last Updated: May 2013, available from: [Accessed on 28 July 2013]

Ibrik, I. (2009) "Energy profile and the potential of renewable energy sources in Palestine", Renewable Energy in the Middle East, NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security, 71-89

Hamed, T. A., Flamm, H. and Azraq, M. (2012) ‘Renewable energy in the Palestinian Territories: opportunities and challenges’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16: 1082-1088.


IEEE Spectrum: "Gaza Power Strip", 1st December 2009. [Accessed on 30 July 2013] Close References