The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
World's Tallest Solar Tower to Supply 120,000 Homes With Renewable Energy
Megalim Solar Power—a joint venture between Oakland, California's Brightsource and French engineering firm Alstom—is the company behind the $773 million project along with shareholders such as General Electric.
Israel's new solar tower will stand at the center of a 3.15 square kilometer field covered by more than 50,000 sun-tracking heliostats (mirrors) Brightsource said in a press release. The cumulative surface area of the complex covers more than 1 million square meters.
The mirrors track the sun while concentrating sunlight onto a boiler atop the tower which will produce high temperatures at high pressures to feed a steam turbine to generate electricity.
The electricity generated at the facility will be enough to supply 120,000 homes with clean energy and will avoid 110,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year over the course of its life, Brightsource said on its website.
The tower will supply 1 percent of Israel's electricity under an agreement with the Israeli government, Reuters reported.
Although 1 percent might sound like a small slice of Israel's energy mix, the tower is part of the country's goal to meet 10 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2020. The government has called for the building of renewable energy sources in the Negev and Arava regions of at least 250 megawatts each year.
In 2014, Israel's primary energy consumption came mainly from petroleum and other liquids (42 percent), coal (29 percent) and natural gas (28 percent), according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
However, with its ample sunshine, Israel has "excellent" potential to tap into solar as a renewable energy source, Israel's Ministry of Energy and Water Resources said on its website.
"Many countries are investing in the development and construction of power stations that run on clean energy, due to considerations such as environmental protection, a steep rise in fossil fuel prices and dependence on the suppliers of those fuels, some of which are located in hostile or unstable countries," the agency continued. "At the heart of these trends lies the realization that reserves of exhaustible energy sources will not last forever, and that we must therefore prepare by diversifying energy sources now."
The European Investment Bank (EIB), which contributed a loan agreement for 150 million Euros (about $167 million dollars) to the project, said the tower is an "important step towards the fulfilment of the objectives of the [European Union] as well as Israel’s national priority objectives relating to combating climate change and supporting renewable energy, as it will emit significantly less greenhouse gases and other pollutants than conventional thermal power plants."
While Megalim's tower is privately funded now, when operations commence by late 2017, the Israeli government has already committed to buying the power it generates at an above-market price, Reuters reported.
Learn more about the tower in the video below.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Respecting scientists has never been a priority for the Trump Administration. Now, a new investigation from The Guardian revealed that Department of the Interior political appointees sought to play up carbon emissions from California's wildfires while hiding emissions from fossil fuels as a way to encourage more logging in the national forests controlled by the Interior department.
Killer hurricanes, devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, and sunny-day flooding in more and more coastal areas around the world have birthed a fatalistic view cleverly dubbed by Mary Annaïse Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council as "de-nihilism." One manifestation: An increasing number of people appear to have grown doubtful about the possibility of staving-off climate disaster. However, a new interactive tool from a climate think tank and MIT Sloan shows that humanity could still meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit global warming.
Burrowing owls, which make their homes in small holes in the ground, are having a rough time in Florida. That's why Marco Island on the Gulf Coast passed a resolution to pay residents $250 to start an owl burrow in their front yard, as the Marco Eagle reported.
Hundreds of Amazon workers publicly criticized the company's climate policies Sunday, showing open defiance of the company following its threats earlier this month to fire workers who speak out on climate change.
East Africa is facing its worst locust infestation in decades, and the climate crisis is partly to blame.