Wind energy and hydroelectricity mix makes an island 100% renewable powered

Wind energy and hydroelectricity mix makes an island 100% renewable powered

wind energy

El Hierro, the smallest of Spain’s Canary Islands, has become a case study for self-sustainability using wind energy and hydroelectricity. The project has been over 12 years in the making, and finally the wind turbines will be begin operation in June of this year, covering 50% of the island’s electricity demand, which will eventually rise to 100% over the following months.
The plan for this project is to use the surplus of wind energy to pump water to a reservoir, 2,300 ft  above sea level . When winds are not strong enough to generate electricity, water is released from the reservoir into a channel which will flow down to the lower reservoir  through turbines, which will produce electricity needed to power the island.
The director of the Gorona del Viento wind power plant, Juan Manuel Quintero, said “This system guarantees us a supply of electricity”. Normally the island depends on 40,000 barrels of oil per annum in order to generate the electricity they need. The new wind-hydro mix will allow them to eliminate 18,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year; no small feat for an entire island!
The president of the island’s local council, Alpidio Armas said “It is a project which is considered at the world level as a pioneer and it is one of the most important in the production of renewable energy”. Officials from countries/States around the world including Aruba, Denmark , Hawaii, Indonesia  and Japan have all shown interest in this new concept; a wind energy and hydroelectric mix.
As far as ownership is concerned, the island authorities have the greatest share at 60 per cent of the plant, while 30 per cent is held by the Spanish energy company Endesa and 10 per cent by a local technological institute. The benefit of being the largest share owner is the possible profits, it is estimated that revenues will be about €1million to €3million per year and will boost the island’s budget, which Armas says will “go to the local residents, to subsidise water prices, infrastructure, social policies.”
The island is also not stopping at wind energy and hydroelectricity either; they have plans to convert all their current transportation to electrical vehicles by 2020, an agreement they’ve made with the Renault-Nissan alliance.
What do you think about islands using wind energy and hydroelectricity to become self-sustainable? Are there any downfalls to such a system?

Posted By Sally on April 29, 2014 | 0 Comment

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