Israel’s military OKs ‘calculated risk’ with Golan Heights wind power

Israel’s military OKs ‘calculated risk’ with Golan Heights wind power

Israel’s military signed off plans for a “technological solution” it said clears the way for significant wind farm development, including the largest project planned on Israeli territory in the Golan Heights.

The Defense Ministry said it and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had agreed with the country’s energy ministry to take “calculated risks” to allow development of several projects in the north of its territory based on development of the unspecified technology, which will cost 250m shekels ($72m).

Enlight Energy, the developer behind the 190MW Spirit of Genesis project in the Golan Heights, said the agreement “removes a significant barrier to the completion of development and/or construction of new wind projects in Israel”.

Opposition from its influential military has been a big barrier to progress of Israeli wind power, with concerns over the impact of turbines on radar and other key systems.

The energy ministry said: “Promoting renewable energies requires dealing with many challenges, among them security, economic and planning. The agreement signed removes from the table one of the major difficulties faced by this industry.”

Enlight said it now hopes Spirit of Genesis – which has also faced opposition from environmental campaigners – can now secure all its approvals within six months.

Enlight in July 2019 signed a letter of intent over 1.1bn shekels ($307m) of finance with Bank Hapoalim over Spirit of Genesis and said it was in “advanced talks” over a possible turbine supplier.

If it proceeds as planned, the project would easily outstrip the 96MW Emek Habacha project, for which Enlight already has a full docket of permits and is advancing on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights with the planned use of GE turbines.

Israel has just a handful of small wind projects in place, but is targeting significant development on the Golan Heights and elsewhere as part of a renewable energy drive that also encompasses PV and concentrating solar power.

As well as its Israeli projects, Enlight has projects underway or completed in Croatia, Serbia and Ireland, and in May 2019 bought a 113MW development in Sweden.