January 13, 2009, Updated September 13, 2012

City of sunshine: Eilat will host a renewable energy conference in February.Despite the ongoing conflict in Israel, a three-day international conference on renewable energy planned for February is going ‘full steam ahead,’ according to organizers.

Far from the range of Hamas rocket strikes, the three-day Eilat-Eilot International Renewable Energy Conference will take place in the southernmost city in Israel, from February 17-19, at Eilat’s Herod’s Palace.

This is the second major renewable energy conference for Eilat, and hundreds of clean technology leaders, entrepreneurs, VCs, companies and government representatives from around the world are expected to take part.

A perfect destination for clean energy

An abundance of blinding sun, and few rainy days, makes the Israeli city of Eilat a perfect destination for farming clean energy from the sun. Located at the tip of the Red Sea, where Israel meets Sinai and Jordan, Eilat has been getting serious about clean technologies for some years.

Noam Ilan, project developer for the Renewable Energy Authority of Eilat-Eilot, the body organizing the conference, says that a major goal of the event is to show how Israel plans to implement its own world-class clean technologies. Known around the world for water technologies and solar energy, the conference will shine a bright green light on local projects, and the region’s own Timna Renewable Energy Park.

The conference will “stir up a great momentum,” for clean technology projects, Ilan tells ISRAEL21c. He predicts that within a short time, Eilat will be a renewable energy hub in Israel, and possibly the world.

Some of the projects to be showcased at the conference include two hybrid energy projects: one is a solar energy farm, paired with a biogas generator. “The idea is that this plant will answer requirements when energy is most needed,” he says.

Part of the new project calls for biogas fuel harvested from the city’s waste dump when the sun is not shining. Enabled by an Israeli solar energy company, the project can be ready in a little more than a year, Ilan anticipates.

Visit the Silicon Valley of renewable energy

A second city-sponsored project is a solar thermal plant that will provide both energy and desalinated water to the water-depleted region. “We’re bringing seawater from Eilat and using it to cool off turbines. When we do that the water gets warm and suitable for desalination. We’re creating electricity and fresh water in a cheaper and less energy intensive way,” Ilan tells ISRAEL21c, pointing out that this project will make a great study site for other arid regions like the Sahara.

The Israeli solar energy company Solel and the national water carrier company Mekorot, are among the tech enablers of the project, which could take up to five years for implementation.

Also at the conference, Israel and the United States will launch the US-Israeli Energy Cooperation Act, passed two years ago by the US Congress.

“The Ministry of National Infrastructures views with high import the development of the Eilat-Eilot Region as a center of renewable energy solutions, and we not only fully supporting them in this pursuit, but we ourselves are very involved in advancing their initiatives,” says Hezi Kugler, director general of the Ministry of National Infrastructures in Israel.

“The conference is an important step towards developing the alternative energy capabilities of this region, and will certainly push us forward in becoming an alternative energy world leader,” he says.

The UJA Federation of Greater Toronto has given a major backing to Eilat’s renewable energy efforts.

Among the conference highlights, the Eilat event will feature technologies from renewable energy companies and enablers from around the world.

After the hob-knobbing and new clean technology business ventures and cooperation is put in place, Eilat is the perfect destination to stay and relax for another week or so, offering some of the best luxury resorts, eco-adventuring and Scuba diving in the world.

Put any worries and fears aside

“We have not received word from any of the conference lecturers that they are canceling their trip to Israel and we are therefore continuing our preparation for the event as originally planned,” says Amnon Samid, a conference organizer.

“We hope that the conflict will be over well before the conference begins and believe that this event represents a wonderful opportunity for people from around the world to demonstrate their support for Israel at this critical time.”

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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