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(September 21–25, 2005)

Markus Altendorff

Another pylon panorama

Andy Alpern

Golan Heights Wind Farm

Golan Heights, Israel

September 21, 2005 12:44 P.M.

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© 2005 Andy Alpern, All Rights Reserved.

Located on the top of Mount Benei-Rasan in the Golan Heights in Israel this wind turbine farm has been functioning since the summer of 1993. A total of ten turbines convert wind power to electricity. Each tower is 30 meters tall with a "wing span" (diameter of the blades) of 36 meters. The electricity produced here is transported through underground cables to the national network. The wind farm's average output is 15 million kilowatt/hours, enough for the domestic needs of about 20,000 people.

I felt an awesome energy at this place. Standing under the turbines, there wasn't even that strong of a wind, and the propellers were spinning at a high speed. Each time the giant blades would pass over me, I heard , and felt, the WOOSH. There is no air pollution at this place and lots of electicity being generated with only the wooshing sound in the air. It felt very natural, like energy being produced how it should in an ideal world. This filled me with a very positive ENERGY.

This is one of many, yet not enough, sites of renewable and sustainable energy production in Israel. In addition to this wind farm, which produces clean electricity, many homes in this country have solar water heaters on their roof and I have seen many small family sized wind generators as well.

In addition to the wind turbines in this panorama, you can see my car, Simcha (a 1997 Skoda Felicia), a diesel powered vehicle. I put in and get out a lot of energy from this vehicle including money for fuel and repairs and transportation of the many beautiful kilometers of this land. I am currently constructing a community bio-diesel reactor to provide a locally-produced, more sustainable and clean energy for the transportation, heating and electricity generation needs of several families.

The Golan Heights were formed millions of years ago when the Syrian-African Rift (Jordan River/Dead Sea/Red Sea) came into being. The basalt rock covering the Golan was created when magma coming up from the cracks in the Earth cooled and hardened. The Golan is has many extinct volcanoes, the last one erupting about 6,000 years ago. Many forms of volcanic remnants can be seen here including lava balls, cinder cones, craters and small holes.

In ancient Biblical History, the Golan was referred to as "Eretz HaBashan" in Hebrew, the Land of Bashan. It was ruled by Og, King of Bashan, the last of a race of giants surviving from the time before the great flood of Noah. Legend has it that he survived the flood on a raft tied to the back of Noah's Ark. His bed was made of iron and 4.2 M x 2 M large. His kingdom was conquered by the Children of Israel on there way to the Land of Israel from Egypt.

In more recent Human energetic influence on the Golan Heights, the British conquered the area from the Ottoman Empire during World War I. After the war, the British transferred the Golan to the French together with the area now known as Syria and Lebanon. When Syria gained independence in 1945, it was incorporated into the new state. After the Israeli War of Independence in 1948-49, Syria withdrew from Israeli territory it entered during the war in the framework of a cease-fire agreement. The next 19 years were marked but hundreds of Syrian attacks on Jewish communities and fishing boats on the Seas of Galilee. Also during that time, the forests were ravaged and many species of wildlife disappeared including the Syrian Bear and probably leopards. During the Six Day War of 1967, Israel conquered the Golan and Mount Hermon (not geologically part of the Golan). Jewish settlement was renewed there (after forced out by Arab attacks in the 1920's) and most Syrians fled while many Druze residents remained. Approximated 10 percent of the Golan is nature reserve and much of the forest and animal life are beginning to be renewed.

I was born on June 10, 1967, the last day of the war. I am the exact age of the Golan as part of the modern State of Israel. At present there are no diplomatic ties between Israel and Syria. May peace come to us all soon! (Where are the Syrian panographers?)

More pics at http://israelvr.net/golanwind

Nikon D100, Sigma 8mm, PTMac, Jasper PanoHead, Mind, Body, Spirit, Simcha the Skoda (not necessarily in that order!)

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