Blown away by El Hierro

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Written by Maria (the Spaniard), we’re blown away by the renewable energy initiatives on El Hierro. 

Today we’re writing to you about some interesting initiatives that are going on at the other side of ocean.

El Hierro is the smallest island of the Canary Archipelago with a surface of 173 miles and just 10,700 inhabitants. It’s 4,925 ft. in height, plus a volcanic origin caused an amazing, one-off landscape with steep permanently beaten by the wind. El Hierro has been a Biosphere Reserve since 2000.

(Pretty picture we found from Idom– promoting industry and energy infrastructure through architecture and consulting)

The renewable energy project consist of an 11.5MW wind farm and 11.3MW hydroelectric plant that will generate around 80% of the island´s need, with the remaining 20% produced via solar thermal collectors and grid-connected photovoltaics.

The environmental benefits are obvious, and it will make this small island an example that will be imitated throughout the world. The project will avoid an annual consumption of 6,000 tonnes of diesel, which is equal to 40,000 barrels of oil that would have to be imported by boat to the island, thus creating a savings of over 1.8 million euros a year (That’s approximately $2.5 million US dollars!).

Evenly, the yearly emission of 18,700 tonnes of CO2, one of the main cause of the greenhouse effect, will be avoided. This CO2 is equal to that which could be fixed by forest of between 24-29 acres, a surface equivalent to 20,000 football pitches.

Also, the yearly emission of 100 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, 400 tonnes of nitrogen oxides, equivalent to the emissions of a regular bus that drove 373 million miles will be avoided.

When you live in a island, the water and wind are the hope for a sustainable future. This project will allow El Hierro to support itself exclusively on environmentally-friendly energies and to become a completely self-sufficient territory.

Around 17 million Europeans and 600 million people throughout the entire world live on islands. Thanks to this project, they will have a reference in El Hierro regarding what the future of energy should be. A clear alternative to oil, thanks to ‘Gorona del Viento’ the Wind-Hydro-Pumped Station of El Hierro! 

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