The Energy and Water Ministry has allocated NIS 10 million for planning up to 2,000 hectares of future solar-power plants in an attempt to encourage green energy entrepreneurship and minimize bureaucratic barriers.

The ministry will be employing a company called Geo-Prospect to help pinpoint and plan sites for future facilities, conduct feasibility studies for the prospective power plants with 50-megawatt capacities and promote detailed national master plans for their construction, the office said on Sunday.

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The goal, according to the ministry, is to provide “fertile ground” for entrepreneurs in the field of renewable energy and arranging the necessary statutory measures, which are typically obstacles to efficient progress in Israel’s renewable sector.

Simultaneously, the ministry will continue to put pressure on the Israel Lands Authority to approve permits for the construction of the facilities, the office explained.

“An extensive subject that the ministry is dealing with is removing the obstacles and barriers faced by entrepreneurs and their difficulties moving forward,” Environment and Water Minister Uzi Landau said in a statement released by his office.

In conjunction with the ministry, Geo-Prospect will be responsible for helping entrepreneurs overcome statutory barriers that often stand in their way and will meanwhile ensure that the absolute best locations are chosen for future solar sites – places that encourage entrepreneurs “to realize their full potential,” according to Landau.

Some sites that are specifically under consideration include a 600-hectare area in Dimona; a 200-hectare area west of Dimona’s southern industrial zone; a 500-hectare space within a railway loop east of Dimona; a 600-hectare area southwest of Rotem Park; and a 250-hectare area in the southern Timna industrial area.

“The narrow borders of the State of Israel require us to make sure that plants are situated in such a way that they only occupy a necessary amount of space, with an optimal use of system capabilities,” Landau said. “This way, clean electricity will benefit everyone, while upholding the values of land, scenery and nature.”

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