09/21/2010 22:12

155-megawatt wind turbine farm awarded priority planning status this week by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

A 155-megawatt wind turbine farm set to be constructed in the Golan Heights was awarded priority planning status this week by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the urging of the Ministry of National Infrastructures.

The Clean Wind Farm company has been pushing for permission since 2005 to erect 80 large 2.5-megawatt wind turbines.

Three years ago, the company applied for a license to build the farm. Six months after MK Uzi Landau (Israel Beiteinu) became the minister, the license was granted.

Now, Landau has convinced Netanyahu to grant the farm the status of a national infrastructures priority. Conferring such status abbreviates the time required for planning and registration. With the new status, the wind farm is set to begin operating in 2012. It will take six months to a year to install the turbines.

The 80 turbines will be 80 meters tall with blade diameters of 50 meters. Each turbine will use 300 square meters and be set 300 meters apart. The land will still be used for agricultural purposes. It has been shown that cows use the wind turbine poles to scratch their backs.

The government recently released a feed-in tariff for wind following the tariff for solar energy, thus creating an incentive to build such wind farms.

While some remain skeptical that Israel does not have sufficient wind speeds to sustain a robust wind power industry, several experts are convinced that Israel’s potential is much greater than skeptics believe.

Wind power was recently found to be the most economically competitive of alternative energies to fossil fuels and as a result has seen a massive surge around the world in recent years. Many countries in Europe, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, have been operating wind farms for years to meet electricity needs.

Meanwhile, the Renewable Energy Technology Center in the Arava Group won the tender to construct a renewable energy technology center in the Negev and the Arava, according to an announcement by ProSeed Venture Capital Fund, also of the Arava Group. The centers are part of the National Infrastructures Ministry’s plan to encourage renewable energy in Israel. The government has set a goal of 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.