Israel Land Authority: First sand, then solar

Ashalim solar power plant / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Globes

The Authority seeks to hold up the Dimona solar energy project in order to carry out sand mining.

The Israel Land Authority (ILA) has written to the Ministry of Finance Accountant General asking him to suspend the tender for the construction and operation of a solar power plant at Dimona until a decision in principle on the matter by the Authority's management. The tender documents were published two weeks ago, and the ILA warns that it is liable to interfere with sand-mining that is due to take place on the site, to the point of causing a shortage of sand and a rise in construction costs.

The solar field is designated as a National Infrastructure Project. It is planned to cover 3,000 dunams (750 acres) south-west of Dimona. Once operational, it will be Israel's largest solar power plant.

The person responsible for the tender is Itsik Marmelstein, head of the infrastructures and PPP (public-private partnership) unit in the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources. The winner of the tender will construct the project and will be entitled to the profits from it for a period to be determined in the tender, after which ownership of the installation will pass to the state. The tender for the Ashalim solar field had a similar format.

As revealed by "Globes", the ILA is meant to be a participant in the tender process, and this is where the problems arose, because the site contains large sand deposits, estimated at some six million tonnes, worth about NIS 50 million. Since it will not be possible to mine the sand once the power plant is constructed, the ILA is asking for the mining to be carried out before the solar project begins.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 10, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Ashalim solar power plant / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Globes
Ashalim solar power plant / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Globes
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