Did you know that there was a place that is run on wind and solar only? Yes, it exists!
The most remote and westernmost of Spain’s Canary Islands, El Hierro was considered to be the “edge of the world” by Europeans until Columbus made his super famous voyage in 1492.
El Hierro’s coastal cliffs and stark volcanic landscapes create a unique atmosphere. El Hierro has a permanent population of about 11,000 and light tourist traffic. You will never see shoulder to shoulder foot traffic here. Because of this, El Hierro is known as the perfect Canarian vacation destination for people seeking serenity and solitude.
It is the first island on the planet to be fully powered by renewable energy. A combination of wind turbines and hydroelectric energy mean that the island can power itself without oil, coal or other yucky stuff. The system will be officially begin operation at the end of June.
There is some controversy over this place being called the “first” of it’s kind. However, most experts agree that it is the first to secure a consistent supply of electricity from wind and water only, without the need for supplementary fuel or connection to an electrical grid. El Hierro has never been connected to an external electrical grid.
The inconsistencies associated with wind power can cause problems, even on the famously breezy Canaries. Power failures could be damaging for the island’s tourism industry dude. However, El Hierro has tackled this issue with an ingenious closed-loop wind/hydroelectric system.
Excess power from the five wind turbines will be used to pump water to a pretty reservoir in the crater of a nonactive volcano. When winds are calm, this water will be released, flowing downhill through hydroelectric turbines. By doing this, excess wind power can be conserved without the need for batteries.
Even though the systems have already been heavily tested, this pretty island does have a 911 reserve of fuel to protect against unforeseen problems. Still, Hierro continues to plan for more sustainable innovations in the near future. The island’s authorities have entered into an accord with Nissan to replace all of El Hierro’s vehicles with electric cars in the next six years.
Eco-friendliness is not a new idea on picturesque El Hierro. The island has been declared aUNESCO Biosphere Reserve because of its unique landscapes and wildlife and because only about 10 percent of the land has been turned to farmland. Nature dominates the rest of this pretty island. Lower carbon emissions will certainly be a positive side effect of El Hierro’s “no fuel” power grid.
Gaiia is going to like this very much : )
Tags: clean energy,columbus,el hierro,first island,free energy,Gaiia,island,planet,solar,wind