Israel continues to 'go green'

Monday, November 22, 2010 |  Ryan Jones

Israel has in many areas led the world in the advancement of renewable energy and other long-term sustainability projects.

On Sunday, one of the larger moves in this area occurred when the government committed to buy every kilowatt-hour produced by a large new solar energy field in southern Israel.

Over the next 20 years, the Ministry of National Infrastructures will spend 250 million shekels (about $68 million) on the electricity produced by Arava Solar Power Company (APC) and Kibbutz Ketura near Eilat.

The deal marked the overcoming of major financial and bureaucratic hurdles to setting up such projects. And with those issues now out of the way, ministry officials expected that another 200 to 300 solar power projects that are currently in the planning phase will move forward quickly.

Israeli army chief Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi also got in on the action when he recently declared that the new Officer Instruction Base will be a “green base.”

The new base features 400 solar panels that are expected to save up to 90,000 liters of diesel fuel every year, and is equipped with systems that will conserve electricity and water.

The architecture and inclusion of power conservation systems will, according to Ashkenazi, become the new standard for Israeli army installations.

In related news, Israeli company IDE Technologies this past weekend wrapped up a week-long seminar to teach advanced water solutions to 30 representatives from Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

IDE is recognized as a world leader in desalination and other water solutions. Israel itself is recognized as a leader in water conservation. Currently, 70 percent of all waste water and sewage in Israel is recycled.

Nevertheless, Israel is facing a severe drought that may result in water rationing despite its considerable conservation efforts. Water rationing is already a common feature of life in the surrounding Arab states.

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