Golan Wind Farm Underway, Declared National Project
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu signed a decree this past week which declares the plan by the Multimatrix company to build a large wind farm in the northern Golan Heights a national project, according to a report in Globes.
The new farm will be established in an area between Massadeh and Majdal Shams, and will comprise 70 giant turbines capable of an output of 155 megawatts. The total investment in the project is expected to be approximately $400 million. Partnering with Multimatrix in the project is US energy giant AES Corp., which raised the necessary funds to promote the project, and will receive half the profits. Approximately $70 million per year are expected to be sold to Israel Electric Corporation, said the controlling shareholder and CEO of Multimatrix, Uri Omid.
It is expected that construction of the farm will begin within six months, and is expected to take a short time, with one turbine being installed every three days. This means that the entire farm should be up and running by the second half of 2012. Multimatrix and AES are hoping to obtain approval from the army to set up more huge turbines that will be capable of expanding the farm’s total output to about 200 megawatts.
Israel regularly invests in wind energy. In early August, Green Wind Energy Ltd. announced that it has obtained a permit to build a 14-megawatt wind farm in the Golan Heights. The Green Wind Energy farm will include seven 80-meter turbines, each with a propeller diameter of 95 meters. Each turbine will generate two megawatts of electricity.
While Israel has traditionally focused on solar power, recently it has begun to put more resources into developing its wind energy industry. Israel plans to more than triple its use of wind energy over the next decade, while increasing solar energy production by 40 percent.
Omid told Globes regarding the Multimatrix project: “This is the first very large and practical renewable energy project of its kind in Israel, and in the entire Middle East. Both the finance minister and the minister of the environment supported the move, and for good reason: they were impressed that one of the solutions to the expected energy shortage in Israel in the coming years is within reach, and not in the depths of the Mediterranean, without the need for special installations to transport gas, without capital market speculation, and without pollution of any kind.”