Giant Solar Tower Named “Eye of Sauron” Is a Subject of Controversy
The solar tower is so bright that looking directly into it can be dangerous to eyesight. However, its nearly 245 meters in length makes it an easy target that can be seen from any part of the small town and even from space. The Ashalim solar complex is one of the largest in the world and is located in the middle of the giant Negev desert. The tower, of course, is the main attraction but thousands of other panels also make up the scenery.
An article in The New York Times reveals this incredible generator that despite its beauty is the subject of much controversy. Even though it is a clean energy source, construction costs, delays and the fact that many experts consider its technology obsolete make this power generator giant receive criticism.
Disabled overnight, the solar tower generates energy to supply thousands of families. The reflected sun heats the water and turns it into steam, the process causing clouds of steam to be channeled to ground level, driving turbines to generate electricity.
Ashalim solar tower divides opinion
According to the report, the solar tower was also the subject of suspicion and even false rumors, such as that the reflected light caused cancer or that it would explode. Fortunately none of this is true. However, this did not prevent many from criticizing the proximity of the work to the city, which ends up disturbing the landscape.
But the main controversy is the cost of energy produced by the tower. The project cost thousands of dollars financed by the multinational Megalim Solar Power consortium that built and manages the plant. There are about 25 of these towers in the world but only one located in the UAE is bigger than the one in Ashalim.
Megalim cost $800 million, and in return the government promised to buy the tower’s electricity at a rate of about 23 cents per kilowatt-hour. This makes on-site energy, despite being green, more expensive than other solar sources.
Overall, despite the controversies, Ashalim’s tower ended up becoming a source of pride for residents who saw the small village featured in the news and on the map.