Israel is known as a solar energy pioneer, but wind in some locations, is not lacking in the small Middle East nation. But after seeing the research and the environmental impacts of wind energy companies, offshore wind turbines, and on land turbines, the Israeli government has rejected a plan for a local company Energix which works with wind turbine energy suppliers such as Vestas and Siemens.
A government planning committee in the area of the planned site Ramat Menashe said that ultimately the turbines would have a negative impact on the local environment, classed as a UNESCO Biosphere. The wind turbine propellers would also be a risk to migratory birds who pass through Israel from Europe to Africa on an important migratory route. Look to local hero Yossi Leshem for saving the birds. Wind turbines get nixed in Jordan for the same reason as they share the same habitat as Israel.
The lesser kestrel is one of the birds in danger of extinction in Israel, despite the wind turbine company assessing that only a few birds would be harmed each year. Other factors such as noise would shut the turbines down for hours during the day, and flickering where overhead turbine shadows can be a nuisance to people. Other wind turbine projects have been abandoned in Israel for environmental reasons: one wind turbine power plant was planned for Ramat Sirin, the Yatir Hills and in the Golan Heights.
Earlier this year the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel’s government had green-lit about $75 million worth of wind turbines in Israel’s north. When faced with endless committees and ministries who rarely agree or communicate with one another –– or worse –– agree on contradictory ideas it is really no wonder Israel can’t increase its adoption of renewable energies.
Wind energy history in Israel
The Golan Heights wind farm was Israel’s first wind farm and the first commercial wind-power project in the Middle East. Installation started after an extensive wind resource assessment carried out in 20 sites in the Golan Heights for about three years. The farm operates 10 Floda 600 wind turbines generating 6 MW in total.
There is no shortage of people trying to make existing technologies better, and certainly no shortage of people idealising working with the wind and the sun. Read below for some of the wind energy stories from Israel we have covered in the past: