An entrepreneur from the Druze community is set to build the first wind power farm geared toward providing electricity for his village.
A Druze entrepreneur, Kanj Hussein, has been given permission by the Israeli government to build a wind power farm in the Druze village of Hurfeish in the Galilee. The wind turbines are expected to provide electricity for over 2,000 households. The Public Utility Authority claims this was one of many wind power initiatives the Israeli government is promoting.
Hussein’s wind power project is the first approved within Israel’s Druze community. The Public Utility Authority has approved four wind farms, of which Hussein’s is one. The other wind farms are located in the Jordan Valley, near Beit She’an, and in the Golan Heights. The Israel Project reported, “Mei Golan Wind Energy, a subsidiary of the Mei Eden water company, built Israel’s first wind power station in the early 1990s in the Golan Heights.”
The Israel Project continued, “The Tel Assania site was chosen after conducting an extensive wind survey of the blustery Golan region. The wind farm comprises 10 Austrian-built turbines installed on 30-meter towers, generating a total of 6 megawatts of electric power. Most of this electricity is used by local industries, including Mei Eden and the Golan Wineries, while the rest (approximately 20 percent) is fed into the regional grid, serving some 20,000 local residents.”
THE POTENTIAL FOR WIND POWER
Wind power is a growing resource for greener electricity. European countries already produce 10-25% of their electricity from wind. Germany produced 30 Giga-Watt of wind energy in 2011, which is 3 times the total power production of Israel. China plans to reach 100 Giga-Watt by 2015. The Israeli government has only approved 800MW allocated to wind, of which 300MW were transferred to solar photovoltaic usage, yet experts estimate the potential for Israel to be in the range of 3,000 MW.
According to the Public Utility Authority, “The authority sees the importance of employing a variety of renewable energies, which will produce energy in a complementary way for the Israeli electricity market in different ways – from wind, sun, biomass and biogas.” Furthermore, the Ministry of National Infrastructure views development plans in the Galilee to be part of a national infrastructure project, thus expediting the approval for projects such as Hussein’s.
By Rachel Avraham, Staff Writer, United with Israel