Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Afcon and IEC to partner on Galilee wind project

Afcon E.B. Wind Energy Ltd., a subsidiary of Afcon Industries, is in talks to partner with Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) on a $70 million project for installing wind turbines in the Lower Galilee.

As part of the collaboration, IEC has already started the process of obtaining statutory permits for the wind turbine farm, according to a report in Globes.

The wind turbine farm will be set up in Ramat Sirin and the Gilboa mountain ridge, with an output estimated at 40-50 megawatts. The National Planning and Building Board approved the construction of wind turbines in this region in 2003. IEC had previously planned to construct the turbine farm on its own, but after its board refused to finance the project, because of its high cost, the plan was dropped.

Afcon Wind Energy General Manager Dr. Eli Ben Dov was formerly deputy manager of IEC's planning and development division.

Afcon has already reached agreements in principle with the kibbutzim in the area, including Ma'aleh Gilboa, Beit Zera, and Degania, on constructing wind turbines on their land. In the next few months it will apply to the Public Utilities Authority (Electricity) for a conditional license to set up the farm.

Afcon declined to comment on the report. IEC said in response, "The company is doing all in its power to assist the promotion of green energy, and helps private producers in every possible way. The company is a subcontractor to Afcon Wind Energy, and is contributing towards advancing these important projects. The company is prevented from divulging details of commercial agreements with its customers."

Afcon Industries, one of Israel's leading industrial enterprises, is controlled by Shlomo Shmeltzer and traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Motorola owns 9% of the group.

Defense Ministry opposes wind turbines in the Golan Heights

In related news, Globes reports that the Defense Ministry is opposed to the contruction of additional wind turbines in the Golan Heights. If true, this would be a blow to Mei Golan Wind's plans to construct a $600m wind turbine project in the Golan in partnership with U.S.-based AES.