Yoram Gabison
Yoram Gabison

Enlight Renewable Energy, which builds and operates alternative power projects, was in talks Monday to take part in one of the largest wind energy projects in Israel.

The project would almost double the previously planned capacity of a wind farm slated to be built in the northern Golan Heights. Instead of generating 58 megawatts of electricity, the expanded wind farm is set to generate 100 megawatts.

Under the agreement, Enlight would have a 30% stake in the project and assist in completing its planning, approval and construction process. The project’s current licensee and third parties would control the rest. Enlight didn’t identify the seller nor did it say what it would pay for the stake.

“The project is, at the time of this announcement, in an advanced stage of development and approval,” Enlight said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. “The company believes that its planning and licensing prospects are strong compared to other wind projects in development in Israel today.”

News of the deal lifted Enlight shares more than 14% in TASE trading, to a closing price of NIS 57.40. Its shares have risen more than 180% over the past 12 months, giving it a market capitalization of NIS 141 million.

Construction of the wind farm has yet to be approved, but sources said it has been cleared by the Defense Ministry, which had previously had concerns that the turbines would disturb wind flow in the area and endanger military aircraft. Environmental authorities are also said to have approved the project, despite the risk the turbines pose to birds.

Enlight has also been involved in six other wind power projects being developed on the Golan Heights, in conjunction with Aviram Ltd., since 2011. The six will cost an estimated NIS 400 million to develop. The company has contracts with Israel Electric Corporation to sell it NIS 2.4 billion worth of electricity.

Enlight, which is controlled by Shaul Elovitch’s Eurocom group, reported a second-quarter profit of NIS 6.8 million on revenues of NIS 44.6 million. The year before had seen a loss of NIS 757,000 on revenue of NIS 8.2 million.

The government conceived the initiative based on its assessment that rising oil prices pose a strategic threat to Israel.Credit: Yaron Kaminsky