Israel is one of the leading countries involved in a number of alternative and renewable energy projects, which even include making bio fuels from algae and splitting hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water to produce hydrogen fuel, one of most abundant fuel sources in the universe.
But despite these and other methods o f producing energy from non-carbon based sources, the most promising way of producing energy, i.e. electricity, is by harnessing the power of the sun.
And why not, since the sun shines in this part of world a minimum of 330 days a year, and there is plenty of space available in the country’s arid Negev region, particularly the mostly flat Arava section that run along the border between Israel and Jordan.
A number of companies working on solar energy power plants and collector plates are now operating, and some of them, including one called Solel Solar Energy Ltd. has attracted the attention of giant international energy and electronics companies, such as the German company Siemens, which is considering to purchase Solel, due to Solel’s unique type of photovoltaic energy collectors.
Solel began construction in February, 2009 on a new 50 MW solar field plant in Lebrija, Spain. The new plant features Solel’s patented UVAC 2008 Solar Receivers, parabolic mirrors, collector assemblies, and control systems to obtain the sun’s maximum energy potential.
Another Israeli solar energy company, Aora, has patented special solar reflecting mirrors that reflect the sun’s rays towards a central generating gas micro-turbine that its inventors say will make even better use of sunlight, and in a more concentrated area than the massive field of collection plates required by companies like Solel.
Aora, who just completed their first initial test of their pilot solar energy plant on June 24 at Kibbutz Samar, and all indications were it was very successful. The test was attended by a number of interested solar energy plant investors in both Israel and abroad.
In addition to abundant sunshine, Israel also has very favorable weather conditions, with few of the violent storms that can damage such facilities, such as those common in counties like the USA, like tornados and hurricanes.
What all these project amount to is an eventual ability to use sunlight to provide at least 25% of Israel’s total energy needs – and without any of the pollution that even natural gas would cause.
One type of power source, which may not be developed in Israel (at least for the foreseeable future) is nuclear power. Even though Israel presently has two functioning nuclear facilities, both of them capable of generation several megawatts of electricity, using them for producing electricity for industrial and domestic use is currently too controversial, as this would require periodic inspections by international nuclear agencies, such as the IAEC.
Up to now, Israel has been reluctant to do this (for obvious reasons) even though former energy minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer had talked about the possibility of a nuclear power plant back in 2007. Nuclear power is also dangerous for a small country the size of Israel, due to leakage of radioactive gases or even a possible reactor “melt down” as occurred in the Ukraine back in the late 1980’s.
No “melt down” is likely to occur from the sun, and for all the reasons noted already in this and other articles, “letting the sun shine in” is one of Israel’s best energy options – if not the best.