The only island in the world that has operated for 28 days with only wind and water energy

2023-12-10 11:10:48Lifestyle SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands, is the only island in the world that has operated for 28 consecutive days using only wind and water energy. Declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and Geopark, the 1.1-million-year-old volcanic island is on track to be 100 percent self-sufficient in energy through clean, renewable sources.

Its 10,000 residents and local government are equally committed to the island's sustainability. The Gorona del Viento hydroelectric plant, with an installed wind power capacity of 11.5 MW, is the main source of electricity generation on the island.

It combines wind generation with pumped storage hydropower generation. This means it uses some of the energy produced by the wind to pump water into a reservoir upstream so that it can then be used to drive hydroelectric turbines to make the most of renewable resources. of electricity production later.

Elderly residents of El Hierro recall a drought that struck in 1948, when ships meant to deliver water missed the island because it was "too small and too far away." Since then, progress has been made in self-sufficiency and there is no need to rely on external aid for sustainability.

El Hierro's first consecutive time using only renewable energy was on August 9, 2015, when the entire island spent two hours running only on renewables. It was an achievement born out of a sustainable development plan of 1996 to guarantee an improved level and quality of life for the population and the preservation of natural areas.

Gorona del Viento, a hydroelectric power plant, began operating at full capacity in July 2015 and has since been a key facility for the integration of renewables into the electricity system. Before it was commissioned in 2014, renewables supplied only 2.2 percent of El Hierro's electricity demand.

On January 25, 2018, and for 18 consecutive days, the El Hierro power plant managed to supply all of the island's electricity demand. Since then, the world has watched as the small Atlantic island has continued to prove that renewable energy is a viable solution for those living in isolated territories around the world.

Any profits made from using renewable energy sources are channeled back into creating more efficient water distribution systems, solar panels and educational programs. In 2000, El Hierro was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – a title reserved for areas that promote solutions that reconcile biodiversity conservation with its sustainable use.

Walking along the winding streets of El Hierro, there are limited man-made constructions among the landscapes. Instead, dramatic views of black volcanic ruins, lunar deserts, deep cliffs or lush forests can be found in every direction.