A Chinese bank is in talks to finance the construction of a 14-megawatt wind farm of Yarok Energy Ltd. on the Golan Heights. The estimated set-up cost of the project is $25 million. The company has operated a 4.8-megawatt wind turbine farm on the Golan since 1992.
Financing from a Chinese bank would be a major precedent for renewable energy projects on the Golan. Western banks have avoided financing the projects for political reasons – the Golan is Syrian territory, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War – and Israeli banks are also deterred.
Yarok Energy’s wind turbine project is one of the few projects to obtain regulatory permits, including from the Ministry of Defense, which is very tight about granting them.
Yarok Energy is planning to build seven 80-meter high two-megawatt wind turbines. The Public Utilities Authority (Electricity) has granted wind farms an 800-megawatt quota, but bureaucratic bottlenecks have prevented developers from utilizing it.
Wind farms have a guaranteed electricity tariff of NIS 0.53 per kilowatt/hour for 20 years, if they obtain electricity production licenses by 2013. The tariff will fall to NIS 0.49 per kilowatt/hour for projects approved in 2014. Yarok Energy believes that it will obtain the higher tariff.
Sources inform ”Globes” that Yarok Energy is in talks to bring in a partner for other projects, including its planned flagship 155-megawatt wind energy project in the northern Golan, which will cost $300 million to build. The company wants to sell a substantial stake in the project to a company that will provide $75 million in financing.
The sources added that EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF-EN), the renewable energy arm of France’s national power company EDF SA (Euronext: EDF) is interested in Yarok Energy’s project. EDF-EN said in response, “The company is currently focusing on developing its six solar energy ventures in southern Israel.”
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