Project aims to strengthen cross-border relations with Jordan as well as act as an instigator for regional development.

A new NIS 10 million regional cooperation project on renewable energy in the Eilat- Eilot region aims to strengthen cross-border relations with Jordan as well as act as an instigator for regional development.

Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom and his office approved a program for the Eilat-Eilot region for renewable energy with a budget of over NIS 10 million, from which NIS 4 million will go directly to cooperation projects, a joint statement from the ministry and the regional council said. The ministry will inaugurate the first laboratories this November at the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference, where officials will also present more details about it.

“The ministry uses all of its resources possible to promote projects facing toward the future; this project is just one of them,” Shalom said. “We want to be pioneers in all fields and with joint forces and by means of regional cooperation we will use the natural treasures of the Arava and channel them into today’s emerging technology.”

As part of the project, the Hevel Eilot Regional Council will spearhead efforts toward regional cooperation, to stimulate work together on renewable energy along the southern border with Jordan and thereby provide a catalyst for development in the area, according to the statement. Research bodies will come together from both sides of the border, including students and professors from both Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

The goal is to make the laboratories a “hub” for renewable energy development, working on innovations in bioenergy, biofuels, hydrogen, solar energy, meteorology and more.

Meanwhile, the program will also involve a feasibility study for the establishment of a thermal-solar power station.

“The establishment of a center for laboratories like this is a milestone of utmost importance in the transformation of the Arava into the ‘Sun Valley’ of renewable energy in Israel,” said Udi Gat, mayor of Eilat- Eilot, who emphasized the importance of bringing leading researchers from Israel and Jordan together over cooperative projects.

“We believe that these laboratories will be at the cutting edge of the alternative energy field in Israel and will join all other solar plants, international conference, greenhouse technologies, training centers and tourist centers being built these days in the Hevel Eilot and Eilat regional as part of the real revolution that is occurring in the region,” Gat said.