Early this morning, Greenpeace activists went on board a 290 meter long coal ship, the Orient Venus, on its way to unload coal in Israel. The action is part of a Greenpeace campaign against building another coal power station in Israel. Greenpeace: "The true cost of coal is much higher than what is presented to the government. The general public carries the burden of the true cost of coal".
Greenpeace activists, Joanna Jones, Mor Levy and Jense Loewe, boarded the 290 meter long coal ship on the high seas this morning. Arriving in inflatable boats, the activists climbed up the side of the huge vessel and built a camp on the ship in order to stop the coal shipment from entering the country.
Mor Levy, 22, Greenpeace activist: "It's true that our action is out of the ordinary and perhaps some people might call it extreme, unfortunately, we don't have a choice. The stubbornness to produce energy from coal is the extreme. The government is hurting me and my close ones! I believe that each and every one of us can have an influence. You can even have an influence from home by saving electricity, which will make the need for another coal plant redundant ".
Nili Grossman, the Greenpeace Mediterranean Energy Campaigner in Israel, who is currently on the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, said: "Coal is an old-fashion and dangerous fuel and its true cost is very high. We are all paying the price which includes; health impacts, air pollution, climate change; all these bare a heavy toll on the average citizen. The public pays the true cost of coal. We will continue campaigning until the final annulment of the polluting coal plant".
A new report which Greenpeace Mediterranean published determines that the price of a coal plant, when calculated in the long-run, is twice as high from the cost of a solar plant. This comes as a contradiction to the Electric Company's claims, arguing that coal is the cheapest, most available fuel. The government ministers are getting a twisted picture, being presented only with the market price of coal, without all the external costs born by the public.
In light of the latest announcements stating that the Electric Company is considering an option to activate the planned power plant alternately by coal and gas, according to the market prices, Greenpeace Mediterranean Energy Campaigner Nili Grossman commented: "We must watch out not to fall in this trap. A bi-fuel plant will constitute as a coal plant. The ministers in our government must keep on guard and prevent an approval of a coal bi-fuel power plant. Such a plant could easily become a polluting coal plant – to which the public objects in thousands, besides gas is just another fossil fuel and causes climate change as well."
Greenpeace Mediterranean is running a public campaign against the construction of a coal plant in Ashkelon for already 6 and a half years. Approximately a year ago 20,000 objection letters to the coal plant were gathered from the public, a record number which hasn't been seen before in any planning committee in Israel.