ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Renewable energy company starts testing first of 39 wind turbines on Golan Heights

Genesis Wind, due to become operational in September, will be country’s biggest renewable energy provider, supplying sufficient green energy to power 70,000 homes a year

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

Enlight Renewable Energy's Genesis Wind project on the Golan Heights in northern Israel, June 2023. (Yehuda Weinberg)
Enlight Renewable Energy's Genesis Wind project on the Golan Heights in northern Israel, June 2023. (Yehuda Weinberg)

Enlight Renewable Energy announced Monday that it has begun to test the first of 39 General Electric wind turbines at the Genesis Wind project in the Golan Heights in northern Israel, which when operational will be the largest of all renewable energy projects in the country, including solar.

By September, the whole project is expected to be up and running, supplying 207 megawatts of renewable energy.

This, the company says, will be equivalent to the yearly consumption of 70,000 households and will save 180,000 tons of global warming carbon emissions annually.

The project includes the electrification of the first privately developed high-voltage underground cable in Israel.

The 27-kilometer-long cable (17 miles) will connect this project, as well as others planned in the area for the future, to the national grid.

During its first full year of operations, Genesis Wind is expected to generate some $50 million of revenue.

A griffon vulture. (Yaniv Cohen, INPA)

In the face of concerns raised by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and others that wind turbines pose a mortal threat to birds such as endangered vultures, Enlight integrated into the design a Radar Assisted Shutdown On Demand system developed in Portugal.

This identifies vultures within a distance of seven kilometers (4.3 miles) and tracks their route. If the birds get too close to a turbine, that turbine is shut down.

Enlight Renewable Energy’s Genesis Project on the Golan Heights, northern Israel, June 2023. (Yehuda Weinberg)

The RASOD team will work in two daily shifts all year round.

Feeding areas will be set up at some distance from the turbines.

Enlight’s first wind turbine project, producing 109 megawatts of energy, was established in the so-called Valley of Tears on the border between the Israeli and Syrian-controlled parts of the Golan Heights.

“The successful commissioning of the first wind turbine at Genesis Wind marks a significant milestone in Israel’s renewable energy journey,” said Gilad Yavetz, CEO at Enlight.

Founded in 2008, Enlight develops, finances, constructs, owns and operates utility-scale renewable energy projects in solar and wind energy, and energy storage. It operates in the US, Israel and nine European countries and has been traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange since 2010.

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