Wind Power in Israel: 400 MW wind farm project on the Golan Heights

The wind power project consists of about 150 turbines spread over 140 km2 in north-eastern Golan Heights, from the Druze village Majdal Shams to moshav Alonei HaBashan and will be built predominantly within privately owned orchards.

Seeking a strategic partner to upgrade its aging turbines, Mei Golan contracted with AES to erect turbines between Majdal Shams and Alonei Habashan, mainly within privately owned orchards, half of which are in Jewish communities and half in Druze villages.

The partnership between Mey Golan and US energy giant AES Corporation is worth $600 million. According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry a number of wind farms are planned in the Galilee, the Arava and the Negev. A number of actions was taken, among those are

* identification of wind-intensive sites
* granting and licensing assistance to windfarm developers
* R&D support

For Yoav Tsur, Israel’s only wind farm operator so far, the future of the wind farm is uncertain due to the talks with Syria .

The Golan Heights Wind Farm is located 1050 m above sea level on Mount Bnei Rasan, 5 km south of Quneitra in the disputed territory of the Golan Heights. The wind farm was built in 1992 by the Mey Eden (Waters of Eden) mineral water company, supported by the then-Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.

It includes 10 Floda 600 wind turbines generating 6 MW in total. The energy is consumed by the Mey Eden plant, the Golan Heights Winery and about 20,000 people. The remaining energy is fed into the electrical grid. Mey Eden built Israel’s first wind farm, or even the first commercial wind-power project in the Middle East.

The installation was based an extensive wind resource assessment carried out in 20 sites in the Golan heights for about three years.

Israel aims to have 5% of its national energy supply come by way of the wind energy by 2012. Seems like it is on the way. Public Utilities Authority has granted a license to mineral water company Mey Golan (Wind Energy Development) to build a $500 million 400 MW wind farm spread over 140 km of the Golan Heights — about 150 turbines. Haaretz reports the deal is worth $600 million and that Mey Golan will partner with US energy giant AES Corporation.

Mey Golan is the same company that built Israel’s first wind farm more than 15 years ago in 1992 at Tel Aseniya, also in the Golan, where ten turbines generate 6 MW of energy.

Another firm Afcon Industries (Shlomo Group) set aside $100 million to fund wind energy projects, one in the Arava Desert in the south of Israel, and one in the north.

Israel’s useable wind energy potential is estimated at 600 MW. It is a limited resource, but nonetheless attractive because it is available in phase with the electricity demand (and of course because it is indigenous and clean). Some very good sites exist, especially in the north of the country.

The Israel Electric Corporation is planning a number of windfarms, in the Galilee, in the Negev desert, and in the Arava Valley (the last one in cooperation with Jordan).

Israeli businessman Shlomo Shmeltzer are planning on developing $100 million wind farm in the Arava desert to produce 50 megawatts of energy. The project will be financed by Afcon Industries. Shmeltzer also plans to build a 100 megawatt plant in Israel’s north; according to the report Israel’s Infrastructure Ministry is planning for 300 MW of wind power for the nation by 2012 to account for 5% of Israel’s total electricity needs.