Wind power in Israel: More wind turbines in Golan

Israel is continuing to invest in wind energy. Green Wind Energy Ltd., which has operated wind turbines on the Golan Heights for 18 years, announced on Sunday that it has obtained a permit from the Ministry of Interior, the Public Utilities Authority, and Israel Electric Corporation for its plans to build a 14-megawatt wind farm in the Golan Heights, this according to a report in Globes.

The groundwork for the wind farm, currently being prepared, will be based on seven 80-meter wind turbines, each with a propeller diameter of 95 meters. Each wind turbine will generate two megawatts of electricity. The current wind turbines on the site produce 4.8 megawatts of electricity and will be replaced by the new ones.

The new wind farm is expected to take two months to build once the infrastructure is laid down. Construction is currently scheduled to take place during the second quarter of 2011.

A Reuters report in April said that after the construction of the first seven wind turbines, additional wind turbines are planned as well, up to a total of 160. They will be erected over a period of two years and in total will generate about 450 megawatts of electricity.

The expected cost for the additional wind turbines is about $800 million, with the eventual expected revenue from the wind farm being $150 million per year.

While Israel has traditionally focused on solar power, recently it has begun to put more resources into developing its wind energy industry. The Golan Heights is a good site to invest in this field since it is a windswept plateau.

In fact, said the Reuters report, Israel plans to more than triple its use of wind power over the next decade, while increasing solar energy production by only 40 percent.

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau explained at the time that this was a cost saving decision, since wind farms need minimal government subsidies and take up less land.

In addition to the Golan Heights, Israel is exploring options for additional wind farms across the country, including in the Negev desert and along the border in cooperation with Jordan.

By Elad Benari,