March 21, 2014
The Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) approved a $250 million loan to Negev Energy-Ashalim Thermo-Solar, Ltd. to support construction of a 110-megawatt concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Israel's Negev Desert.
This will be the first CSP facility to receive funding support from OPIC, the U.S. Government's development finance institution. Due to thermal storage capability and other efficiency improvements, the capacity of a CSP plant can be more than twice that of a solar photovoltaic plant. This renewable source of power generation will be one of the first large-scale alternative energy facilities in Israel, and helps both OPIC and the Obama Administration's own goals to support renewable energy projects, as well as Israel's own recent commitment to diversify beyond energy generated from fossil fuels.
'This project advances one of OPIC's key strategic priorities to support the development of renewable resources, and also uses an innovative solar technology,' said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC's President and CEO. 'The concentrated solar power design used for this plant is exciting, cutting-edge technology that can dramatically increase power generation. This is a project that shows how to provide a tremendously effective source of clean energy in a region dependent on fossil fuel. This is a frontier I'm honored to be entering with OPIC.'
The planned construction of the CSP facility is in Israel's Negev desert, one of the country's least developed areas. The Negev Energy-Ashalim project is expected to create hundreds of jobs during construction and employ over one hundred people in both unskilled and technical capacities after the plant's completion.
OPIC is the U.S. Government's development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.
Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide. To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $76 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 278,000 American jobs.
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