Arava Power, based on an Israeli kibbutz, recently signed a solar energy land lease deal with Israeli Bedouin (previously nomadic people). The deal, it seems has prompted the Bedouin to want a bigger or guaranteed share in Israel’s solar energy land lease market. According to the Jerusalem Post the Bedouin city of Rahat and its Mayor Sheikh Faiz Abu Seheban called a press conference last Thursday to publicize his community’s intentions to the Israeli government. “I sent a letter asking for a special quota of solar energy specifically for Bedouin,” the mayor said. Should the Bedouin get it?
“Entering the solar energy market would create jobs for Beduin residents and save on electricity. The Beduin are the poorest community in Israel,” he added. The Beduin would lease their land to private solar developers and would work at the solar fields.
The Israeli government has plans to have 10% of its country’s energy to be from renewable sources by 2020, and has since guaranteed attractive feed-in tariffs for medium-sized projects attracting international investment and interest. Clearly the Bedouin people in Israel are no chumps. They want a share in the solar energy gold rush. Since land-rights issues for the Bedouin are still a very dodgy issue in Israel, we can foresee this topic being a very political one.
We are also concerned how these land-leases will be managed. BrightSource has already learned that it can’t just put up solar panels wherever it pleases in the Mojave Desert. Similar restrictions should be put in place in Israel’s somewhat small Negev Desert.
Read more about Israel’s Bedouin:
Cycling for Peace With Israeli Bedouin
Meet Israel’s Green Bedouin
Immersion Arabic Course in First Solar Bedouin Village in Israel
Ben Gurion University Helps Green Bedouin City of Rahat
Image via jocelyndurston