Wind versus sun on the Golan Heights: which will win?
The Golan Heights, currently under dispute by both Israel and Syria, was thought to become a major location for wind power in Israel when we posted our first Green Prophet article about it back in August, 2008. At that time, there was already a wind farm in place on the Northeastern Bashanite Ridge sector, where ten turbines generate 6 MW of energy, which goes to “wind power” local factories and about 20,000 people.
A new license was granted to the Mey Eden Water Company (the same company that built the original 10 turbines at Tel Aseniya in 1992) to construct a much larger turbine farm costing $500 million. The 400 MW wind farm of about 150 turbines was to be spread over 140 km of the Golan Heights. Haaretz reported the deal is worth $600 million and that Mey Golan would partner with US energy giant AES Corporation.
But all this may be changing now, and according to a just published article in Haaretz.com , the huge airliner-sized wind turbines may take a back seat to new projects dealing with photo-voltaic solar panels being installed on both private dwellings and commercial enterprises on the “Heights”.
A man named Shimon Keinan who just installed solar panels on his shofar factory (ritual ram’s horn musical instruments) on the southern Golan Heights, said: “I’m glad to be part of a ‘green’ enterprise in the Golan, in which dozens of systems like mine have been installed”.
Solar panels for individual solar energy electricity systems require much less space than the gigantic wind turbines, some of whom are as large as a 747 passenger airliner. They are also less hazardous to migratory birds, which pass over parts of the Golan by the thousands in their annual migrations.
According to Haaretz, some 150 photo-voltaic systems have been installed on rooftops of the Golan’s poultry runs and cowsheds to utilize the sun’s energy, with another 200 systems approved for installation. Avi Malka, head of the Golan Regional Council, says about 200 systems have been approved for installation. He added that solar panels already installed produce around 7 megawatts of electricity while the ten large turbines in place on the Bashanit range produce around 6 MW.
But the wind turbine promoters are not about to be upstaged by competition from solar energy panels, however. The Golan has some of the strongest levels of wind energy in the entire region, and with a planned installation of 150 additional wind turbines in the northern Golan, each able to produce around 2 MW.
Avi Malka claims that if these turbines are installed “the Golan will produce enough electricity for the entire eastern Galilee region. The new turbines will be constructed by Avi Zeira of Ruhot HaGolan company (Winds of the Golan) whose original wind turbines were built 25 years ago. Zeira will have even more “wind in his sails” when he replaces to present 10 to 25 meter tall turbines with much higher and larger ones which will be 80 meter high.
As for the birds, they’ll just have to fly higher.
Worth reading articles on Golan renewable energy:
\Israel’s First Golan Wind Energy Developer Gets Windier
Is Wind Energy a Danger to Migrating Birds?
Enlight to Ignite 25 Solar Energy Projects in Israel