Israel switches wind allocation to PV

ISRAEL: Israel's ministerial committee for renewable energy has approved the transfer of a 70MW wind energy quota to the photovoltaic sector, reducing 2011's 800MW quota allocated for wind to 730MW.

Golan Heights... Israel's only wind farm

A further 20MW reduction was imposed to small wind power installations, for which the initial quota was 30MW. The committee also voted to re-allocate 200MW to photovoltaics from solar-thermal quotas.

The committee argues that the new quotas will help the country achieve its target for 10% electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020, and will lead to significant savings for the Israeli economy over the next 20 years.

Energy, water and national infrastructure minister Silvan Shalom expressed his support towards an economy based on renewables energy, however, he said that electricity tariffs should be kept within sustainable limits.

Israel's Wind Energy Association (IsraWEA) has openly criticised the transfer of wind quotas to the PV sector, saying the move was "puzzling" given the electricity purchase tariff for wind energy is still lower than that of solar energy.

This is the third time the energy ministry has tried to reduce the national 2020 wind energy quota, IsraWEA chief executive Gadi Hareli told Windpower Monthly. In November 2012, the energy ministry had suggested the transfer of a 300MW quota from large wind energy projects to the photovoltaic industry, but the plan failed to be implemented.

"Like the last attempt, we believe this one will also be rejected by one of the ministers", Hareli said. Israel currently only has one installed wind farm, which is operating at 50% of its 6MW capacity.