As we push to exploit the Negev desert’s ubiquitous solar energy, we inevitably have to deal with evacuating said energy. Typically that involves unsightly transmission infrastructure: towers, lines, transformers, and more. Israel Electric Corporation had intended to build transmission lines over the top of the iconic Ramon Crater (which is a Makhtesh, not the site of a meteor crash) but The National Parks Authority protested that idea. The Jerusalem Post reports that after a long campaign, IEC and NPA, with leadership from the Ministry of National Infrastructure, have found an alternative solution.
The National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau announced on Tuesday that instead of running lines overhead, IEC will be required to bury the lines. This will ensure that the crater is virtually-free of visual pollution.
Given that the site deep in the Negev attracts scores of foreign and national visitors each year, not to mention its less tangible aesthetic and geological value, it was important to the NPA to encourage IEC to consider their options.
IEC was very concerned to maintain the integrity of the crater and at one point considered routing the lines around it.
NPA Deputy Southern Region Head Gilad Gabai told the paper:
During the discussions over burying the power line, we were able to come to agreement on many issues with IEC officials, who expressed great willingness to put forth solutions to minimize the damage to the crater. A decision was needed by the minister and we congratulate him on making it. I am convinced that by combining the professionalism of the NPA and the IEC, we will be able to advance the project and keep the human impact on nature as muted as possible.
In the past, the crater was raked up by a series of quarries. Thanks to a collaborative effort between the NPA and the Fund to Rehabilitate Quarries, most of those that formerly lined Route 40 are no longer visible. This latest decision will ensure that visitors can continue to enjoy a site only marginally impacted by humans.
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image via goldberg