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EIB to back 250MW Israeli desert plant

The European Investment Bank (EIB) plans to provide some €100m ($136m) towards the construction of the 250-megawatt (MW) Ashalim solar-power project in Israel’s western Negev desert, according to Uzi Landau, the country’s minister of national infrastructures.

Projected to cost about $750m, the scheme will be built around a pair of concentrating solar power plants, each with a capacity of about 120MW, and a 15MW photovoltaic installation that could be expanded to a nameplate capacity of 30MW.

Ashalim is due to go out to tender at the end of April and is scheduled to be up and running by 2015.

“One of the goals of the National Infrastructures Ministry is to provide every Israeli home with access to power produced from renewable-energy sources,” says Landau.

“The Ashalim power plant is a major part of our vision to transform the Israeli ‘red-roof’ dream into a ‘green-roof’ reality.

“More importantly, with the construction of the Ashalim plant, we are moving from simply talking about our renewable-energy potential to actualising our vision.”

The EIB investment is double the initial amount earmarked.