Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Israel uses Golan to build wind energy industry

After decades of focusing on solar power, a natural enterprise for a country two-thirds desert, Israel is starting to pour resources into developing its wind energy industry.

Much of that potential, it says, is in the Golan Heights, a strategic and windswept plateau captured from Syria in the 1967 war. Once the focal point of fierce tank battles, the future of the territory will make or break any peace deal with Syria.

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau told Reuters that projects like the turbine field would have to be included in any negotiations with Syria.

160 turbines that will generate about 450 megawatts of electricity.

The Infrastructure Ministry, which set a target of generating 10 percent of Israel's energy from renewables by 2020, said permits have already been granted for 200 megawatts.

"If the land is returned to Syria in a peace deal, we will be compensated," [Multimatrix Chairman Uri Omid] said. "Regardless, this project can work for us or work for them. Someone will always need the electricity."

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