The National Council for Planning and Building decided on Tuesday to promote the construction of large wind farms and turbines on 30 sites around the country.
The decision occurred after an interministerial team that was reviewing the topographic effects of establishing wind farms submitted its recommendations to the council. The team examined a total of 160 applications for the construction of large wind farms and turbines, and recommended proceeding with 34 of them, according to information distributed among Israel Wind Energy Association (IsraWEA) members last week, by the organization’s co-founder and CEO, Gadi Hareli.
At the time, Hareli criticized the fact that so many requests submitted for projects were rejected, and that the total capacity of the recommended farms would add up to only between 500 and 700 megawatts.
Although last week the quota for large wind facilities still stood at 800 megawatts, an additional blow hit the wind sector on Monday when a government committee chose to decrease that figure. In order to shift more available megawatts to the photovoltaic industry, the Interministerial Committee for Renewable Energy approved the diversion of 70 megawatts from large wind farm and 20 megawatts from small wind facility quotas.
Although only 30 sites have currently received the green light, the National Council for Planning and Building stressed that it will be possible to explore other sites not yet evaluated by the inter-ministerial team. Upon receiving maps of the country’s wind regimes from Israel Meteorological Services, and with the accumulation of more information from the field, the Council said that it will also consider promoting facilities in additional sites.
“The decision of the Council to promote about 30 sites to place wind turbines across the country will encourage alternative and environmentally friendly energy production, which will lead to financial savings and a reduction in air pollution,” said the Council’s chairman, Dr. Shuki Amrani.
Members of the wind industry are far from satisfied with the decisions made in the past few days, however.
“It was supposed to be a holiday of energy independence and the implementation of renewable energy in general, and the opening shot for the wind energy sector in Israel,” Hareli said, lamenting the cuts in wind energy quotas made on Monday.
Hareli called the decision to boost solar quotas at the expense of wind “puzzling,” explaining that electricity tariffs for purchasing from wind facilities is still lower than those of solar energy. Although they have invested large amounts of money and time in developing their technologies, wind energy entrepreneurs continue to face slow-paced regulatory process and an uncertain future, he added.
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