The smallest Canary Island is set to become the first 100 per cent renewable energy-using island on Earth.
El Hierro, which covers an area of 278 square kilometres, will soon be drawing on a combined wind and hydro energy system for absolutely all of its energy needs.
The hybrid system will comprise of a pair of hydroelectric installations and a single wind farm.
The wind farm will feature five wind turbines, with a combined capacity of 11.5 MW, and it will be the primary source of El Hierro's energy. The hydro system, however, will be drawn on when demand outstrips supply, or when there simply isn't enough wind blowing across the island.
Canary Islands: Renewable Energy
It's expected that when this Canary Island's renewable energy project is fully up and running - and that moment's some months off yet - El Hierro's annual utility bill will drop by four million dollars since, at present, the island's forced to import crude oil from overseas and presently draws on some 40,000 barrels of it every 12 months.
This produces over 18,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per annum, purely from energy-related processes.
El Hierro has a population of about 11,000 and sits in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1,500 kilometres from the Spanish coastline.
Renewable Energy World-First
The development of this potential renewable energy world-first on El Hierro is being closely-watched by the energy industry at large. If successful, it's possible the model might be up-scaled in other areas.
The renewable energy systems involved in it will be connected to the island's national grid via a solution supplied by Swiss/Swedish energy firm ABB.
This, according to a press release issued by the firm on 27 June 2011, ‘comprises a new interconnection substation, equipped with UniGear and UniMix medium voltage switchgear, which will receive the power generated by the five wind turbines and the hydropower turbines, and deliver it to the island's main substation via distributed transformers and a Relion® REB 670 intelligent protection system.'
Image copyright Tbachner - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
See also -
World's First Carbon Neutral Nation Will Be Maldives
Products and Services;
Companies supplying Hydro Power
Companies supplying Wind Power