Israeli company receives conditional license for 340-MW pumped-storage project in Manara Cliff

Ellomay Capital Ltd., an emerging Israel-based operator in the renewable energy and energy infrastructure sector, announced on Aug. 31 that the Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources has granted the company a conditional license for the construction of a 340-MW pumped-storage project in the Manara Cliff, Israel.

The estimated cost of the project and expected commissioning date were not immediately available, but according to Elloway, during the first quarter of 2016 the company invested US$400,000 in the project.

The conditional license is valid for 72 months from the date of its approval, subject to compliance by the project company, Ellomay Pumped Storage 2014 Ltd. (Ellomay PS). Ellomay indirectly owns 75% of Ellomay PS.  

Manara is a kibbutz (a communal agricultural settlement) located in the Upper Galilee area of northern Israel, adjacent to the Lebanese border and overlooking the Hula Valley. It falls under the jurisdiction of Upper Galilee Regional Council and is just south of Kiryat Shmona.

The location is the highest cliff in Israel, and the lower reservoir will be about 90 m above sea level and the upper reservoir will be about 840 m above sea level.

According to Ellomay PS, the project’s attributes include:

  • Sustainable technology — working for more than 100 years;
  • The facility will be capable of storing energy by raising and releasing water allowing quick response time — about 90 seconds — for use by the grid dispatcher;
  • Use a hydroelectric storage system comprised of two water reservoirs (upper and lower), connected through an underground water pressure pipe;
  • An important tool for managing and controlling the national power grid by providing a combination of low-latency, high-power and high-energy response;
  • Utilizing excess manufacturing ability during low-demand in order to increase supply during peak-demand:
    • During low-demand, pump water from the lower reservoir for energy storage; and
    • During peak-demand, release water from the upper reservoir for energy production.

Ran Fridrich, Ellomay PS chief executive officer and board member, in a press release said, “We are pleased with this progress in our Manara Cliff pumped-storage project. Obtaining the conditional license marks a substantial milestone in the continued development of the project, which is expected to be highly-complex and is currently in its early [design] stages.”

In 2015, the pumped-storage project was issued a conditional license by Israel’s Electricity Authority, which has since expired, to operate the plant with a capacity of 200 MW.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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