The European Investment Bank (EIB) is pleased to announce that on 26 June 2014 it concluded a loan agreement for EUR 150m aimed at the financing of a thermo-solar power plant located in Israel’s Negev desert. The project will be the largest solar power plant in Israel and the first financed by the Bank in the Near East. It will contribute significantly to the development of solar thermal technology as a means of commercial-scale power generation in the country, harnessing the country's solar resources and thereby diversifying the energy mix and improving security of energy supply. The project is also an important step towards the fulfilment of the objectives of the EU as well as Israel’s national priority objectives relating to combating climate change and supporting renewable energy, as it will emit significantly less greenhouse gases and other pollutants than conventional thermal power plants. It also contributes substantially to the objectives of the Mediterranean Solar Plan.

The project consists of the construction of a thermo-solar power plant on an area of approximately 3.15 million m2 which will deploy sun-tower technology for an installed capacity of 121 MW. This represents the electricity consumption of a medium-sized city in Israel. The project, which is a joint venture between the Israeli solar technology company Brightsource Energy and Alstom of France, concerns the first commercial application in Israel of an innovative Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) tower technology based on the combination of direct steam generation with a superheated steam cycle.

Developed under a 25-year concession agreement scheme with the State of Israel, it is foreseen that the plant will commence commercial operation in 2017.