The Jerusalem Post reports that a renewable energy park is to be established in Kibbutz Ketura, located 50km north of Eilat in the Arava Valley. The park will be used for research, education and tourism. Believed to be the first of its kind, the park for renewable energy and energy saving is being established at the initiative of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Arava Power Company.
The research center will be a joint project of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Weizmann Institute of Science, and will be funded with donations from the Toronto community and the Jewish National Fund, among others.
According to its web site, the Arava Power Company (APC) will produce renewable energy and sell it to residents of the Arava and the Israel Electric Company. "The creation of Arava Power is part of a regional initiative to make the Arava the Silicon Valley of renewable energy." The company is negotiating for a regional exclusive on a new photovoltaic solar panel technology and is also setting up an independent affiliate across the border in Jordan.
Ed Hofland is Arava Power's Chairman, and Yossi Abramowitz is its President. Abramowitz blogs at Peoplehood.org, and, in September 2007, he gave a sermon on why developing solar power is part of the mission of the Jewish people. His words are inspiring, and I highly recommend reading the post.
For a sense of what Abramowitz has to say, and the goals that the Arava Power Company has set for itself, here is a passage from his sermon:
"The building of solar fields in the footsteps of Moses and the Israelites is certainly a worthwhile task (and may explain the glow on his face). Yet it can be much more. Can Israel become the first western economy to make the switch from carbon-based to solar based? Can the Jewish people become carbon neutral by 2020..."