Silvan Shalom on Iran.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
A new NIS 10 million regional cooperation project on renewable energy in the
Eilat- Eilot region aims to strengthen cross-border relations with Jordan as
well as act as an instigator for regional development.
Development Minister Silvan Shalom and his office approved a program for the
Eilat-Eilot region for renewable energy with a budget of over NIS 10 million,
from which NIS 4 million will go directly to cooperation projects, a joint
statement from the ministry and the regional council said. The ministry will
inaugurate the first laboratories this November at the Eilat-Eilot Renewable
Energy Conference, where officials will also present more details about
“The ministry uses all of its resources possible to promote projects
facing toward the future; this project is just one of them,” Shalom said. “We
want to be pioneers in all fields and with joint forces and by means of regional
cooperation we will use the natural treasures of the Arava and channel them into
today’s emerging technology.”
As part of the project, the Hevel Eilot
Regional Council will spearhead efforts toward regional cooperation, to
stimulate work together on renewable energy along the southern border with
Jordan and thereby provide a catalyst for development in the area, according to
the statement. Research bodies will come together from both sides of the border,
including students and professors from both Jordan and the Palestinian
The goal is to make the laboratories a “hub” for renewable
energy development, working on innovations in bioenergy, biofuels, hydrogen,
solar energy, meteorology and more.
Meanwhile, the program will also
involve a feasibility study for the establishment of a thermal-solar power
“The establishment of a center for laboratories like this is a
milestone of utmost importance in the transformation of the Arava into the ‘Sun
Valley’ of renewable energy in Israel,” said Udi Gat, mayor of Eilat- Eilot, who
emphasized the importance of bringing leading researchers from Israel and Jordan
together over cooperative projects.
“We believe that these laboratories
will be at the cutting edge of the alternative energy field in Israel and will
join all other solar plants, international conference, greenhouse technologies,
training centers and tourist centers being built these days in the Hevel Eilot
and Eilat regional as part of the real revolution that is occurring in the
region,” Gat said.