One thing we have learnt this week – Israeli tower of power

220px-Solar_troughs_in_the_Negev_desert_of_IsraelIsrael is building the world’s tallest tower of power (solar tower) in the Negev desert.  Whilst I’m not going to get into the politics of Israel/Palestine I disagree with actions on both sides.   However, its fair to say that since 1948 Israel has felt surrounded by enemies and after the 1973 oil shock this has influenced its energy policy to a certain extent.  It as we wrote in our book became one of the largest utilisers of solar hot water panels (along with Japan).  However, despite its sunny disposition its been slow on the solar PV uptake, although in recent years this surged.  Still only 10% of Israel’s energy is set to come from renewables by 2020.  This tower of power will generate 1% of Israel’s electricity consumption.  It works by having many thousands of mirrors (50,000) focus their reflected rays onto a central focal point (240m high).  This heats either water or increasingly salt solution up which drives turbines.  Using salt allows the heat to be stored for longer so these towers work after dark.

This tower of power is quite a lot of effort for 121MWp of energy.  I wonder whether it might been better to have stuck PV modules on buildings?   Its also a potential terrorist target.

Neil

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