Israel Embraces Solar As It Races Towards 2020 Clean Energy Goal

tel aviv beach muslimThe arid Middle Eastern desert climate offers little in the way of natural resources. But it does boast of brilliant and fierce sunlight.

In a continuing effort to reach the goal of 10% renewable power by 2020, Israel has recently been issuing a slew of new solar licences, including a 120 MW thermal solar plant that will be built outside Kibbutz Zeelim and a 60 MW thermal solar plant to be constructed outside Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh, both located in the Negev Desert and estimated to be operational by 2014.

Last Monday, Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources announced the issuing of 19 additional licenses for mid-sized projects for a total of 27 MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar power. Israel’s first and currently only large-scale solar plant is a 5 MW facility in Kibbutz Ketura in the Negev built by Arava Power.

The two larger thermal projects are the first such projects to be identified by the government for additional support to aid accelerated construction. The projects are part of the ministry’s July 2011 commitment to support construction of 460 MW of commercial-scale solar projects in the country.

“In order to ensure the reliability of the electricity supply, to allow the grid to withstand demand and in order to reach our renewable energy goals, it is of great importance that these plants are constructed as soon as possible, with an emphasis on beginning operation in 2014. We will continue to remove any obstacles [developers may face] so that we can fulfill the vision of creating green electricity as much as possible, wherever possible,” Energy and Water Minister Dr. Uzi Landau said in a statement [Hebrew].

The 120 MW project will be constructed by Israel’s largest construction firm, Shikun & Binui, and the 60 MW thermal solar plant will be built by Thermal Solar Power Israel.

Image of Tel Aviv beach by Karen Chan

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2 thoughts on “Israel Embraces Solar As It Races Towards 2020 Clean Energy Goal”

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