The World Wildlife Fund and the Cleantech Group recently published a report saying that Israel is the second best place in the world to develop green technologies, second only to Denmark. Israel has long been a major exporter of such innovations, a leading developer of water-saving technology, such as its agricultural inventions, and solar power. Now Israel is starting to bolster its own energy infrastructure, utilizing that world renowned expertise at home.
The recently unveiled Heliofocus Dish pictured above is a prime example. A secondary large scale solar project, Project Halutziot (“Pioneering”), will soon construct a 55 Mega Watt power plant as part of a joint venture with the settlement Bnei Nezarim, established by families evacuated from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
Prime Minister Netanyahu declared this project in the western Negev is “a project of national importance” and promoted it within the National Infrastructure Committee. In March 2012 alone Israel’s Public Utility Authority issued licenses for nine large solar fields.
Among those projects is a 150-acre site at Ketura that will eventually meet a third of the peak daytime electricity used in Eilat. According to Yosef Abramowitz, co-founder of Arava Power, a solar power company at the Ketura kibbutz in southern Israel, conditions in the nation’s expansive Negev desert are perfect for harvesting solar energy. Ketura, for example, gets up to 14 hours of sunlight in the summer and on average has only 15 cloudy days a year.
Gershon Baskin, of Israel’s Green Movement Political Party, recently recommended that the Jewish nation turn to its bounty of solar energy to compensate for deteriorating gas supplies from neighboring Egypt. But there’s been no word from Prime Minister Netanyahu so far about wide scale government subsides for renewable energy being on the horizon.
Image via David Shankbone