Affordable and Clean Energy

Renewable Energy – Brighter than the Sun

As of 2018, roughly 30% of Israel’s electricity generation was coal-based. Better than 100% to be sure, but this statistic still leaves room for improvement. With the 2030 Paris Agreement goal of zero-emissions in mind, the Ministry of Energy has drafted a strategy focused on generating electricity from natural gas and renewable energy. Naturally, this strategy includes the use of photovoltaic, or solar energy.

Photovoltaics (PV), simply put, is the process of converting sunlight directly into energy. PV technology is used to power electronic cars, houses, commercial buildings, and to supplement power grids. At the forefront of solar energy in Israel is a pioneer in the field, BrightSource Energy. BrightSource was founded in Israel and developed their technology at the Hebrew University in Israel. Their projects have reached a global scale, but they were best-known for building the world’s largest solar electricity generation installation in California. Until now.

Renewable Energy – Brighter than the Sun - SDG 7 - Social Impact Israel
Ashalim Solar Project @BrightSource
At a height of 260 meters (including the boiler), BrightSource’s Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station in Israel’s Negev desert is the tallest in the world. It is also the largest renewable-energy project in Israel and among the largest in the world. The project is a partnership between BrightSource, General Electric and NOY Infrastructure and Energy Investment Fund. The 121 megawatt project contains 50,600 computer-controlled heliostats (mirrors) that track the sun on two axes and reflect sunlight onto a boiler that is situated on top of the tower. Suffice it to say that the ample sunlight of the Negev region is enough to make 50,000 sunlit mirrors appear like a vast and beautiful mirage in the desert.
The 4,000 acre solar-energy station combines 3 kinds of energy: solar thermal energy, photovoltaic energy and natural gas, and is already serving the needs of some 70,000 Israeli households. But the most astounding thing about Ashalim is its ability to product power even at night. Using a thermal-energy storage system based on molten salt, the plant is able to operate for around an extra four-and-a-half hours daily at full power after sunset. Nearly 1 percent of Israel’s energy is expected to be generated at Ashalim, moving Israel ever closer to its goal of ending fossil-fuel dependence by 2030.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 7 describes the importance of access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Target 7.2 outlines: “By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix,” which is clearly what BrightSource, is accomplishing.

Read more on this blog about unique Israeli companies that are using biogas and hydroelectricity to create renewable energy.

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