The National Council for Planning and Building decided on Tuesday to promote the construction of large wind farms and turbines on 30 sites around the country.

The decision was made after an interministerial team that was reviewing the topographic effects of establishing wind farms submitted its recommendations to the council last week. The team examined 160 applications to build large wind farms and turbines, and recommended proceeding with 34 of them, according to information distributed to Israel Wind Energy Association (IsraWEA) members by Gadi Hareli, the organization’s co-founder and CEO.

At the time, Hareli criticized the fact that so many requests submitted for projects were rejected, and that the total capacity of the recommended farms would add up to only 500 to 700 megawatts.

An additional blow hit the wind sector on Monday, when a government committee chose to reduce the quota for large wind facilities from 800 megawatts to 710. To shift more available megawatts to the photovoltaic industry, the Interministerial Committee for Renewable Energy approved the diversion of 70 megawatts from large wind farm and 20 megawatts from small wind facility quotas.

Although 30 sites have received the green light, the National Council for Planning and Building stressed that it will be possible to explore other sites not yet evaluated by the interministerial team. The council said that after it receives maps of the country’s wind regimes from Israel Meteorological Services, and accumulates more information from the field, it will consider promoting facilities in additional sites.

“The decision of the council to promote about 30 sites to place wind turbines across the country will encourage alternative and environmentally friendly energy production, which will lead to financial savings and a reduction in air pollution,” council chairman Dr. Shuki Amrani said.

Members of the wind industry expresses dissatisfaction with the decisions made in the past few days.

“It was supposed to be a celebration of energy independence and the implementation of renewable energy in general, and the opening shot for the wind energy sector in Israel,” Hareli said, lamenting the cuts in wind energy quotas made on Monday.

He called the decision to boost solar quotas at the expense of wind “puzzling,” explaining that the tariff for buying electricity from wind facilities is still lower than that for solar energy. Although they have invested large amounts of money and time in developing their technologies, wind energy entrepreneurs continue to face slow-paced regulatory process and an uncertain future, he said.