Spanish island eyes world first with wind, water power

Mar 20, 2014
Spain's largest wind turbine, Arinaga, at 154 metres (505 feet) tall with 62.5-metre (205-feet) long blades, is pictured on Gran Canaria on October 20, 2013

A Spanish island hopes to become the first in the world fully powered by renewable energy later this year when it launches a new wind and water energy plant, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

The Gorona de Viento plant is due to launch in June on El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands off the Atlantic coast of Africa, project spokeswoman Cristina Morales told AFP.

"It will introduce energy into the system gradually. By the end of this year, if all goes well, we will be able to reach 100 percent" of the power used by the island's 11,000 inhabitants.

The two sets of turbines, one powered by wind and one by water currents, have a capacity of 11.5 megawatts each, far exceeding the total eight megawatts used at peak times on the island.

To test a system of 100 percent , the volcanic island of 278 square kilometres (107 square miles) "is the ideal place because it is so small," Morales added.

The plant cost 80 million euros ($110 million) to build and Morales said the local government hopes to save the same amount over 20 years by using this cheaper renewable energy.

The island is also expected to cut by 18,700 tonnes and diesel consumption by 6,000 tonnes.

The island authorities own 60 percent of the plant, with 30 percent held by Spanish company Endesa—a subsidiary of Italian group Enel—and 10 percent by a local technology institute.

Explore further: Toshiba's lithium-ion battery energy storage systems make renewable energy more practical

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Seismic activity felt on Spanish volcanic island

Dec 23, 2013

Spain's National Geographical Institute says the Canary Island of El Hierro has been rocked by more than 50 tremors in 24 hours, two years after a new volcano began to appear off its southern coast.

Philippines approves three new wind farms

May 20, 2013

The Philippines has approved three wind farm projects that will generate 208 megawatts, enough to power more than 40,000 middle-class homes, an energy official said on Monday.

Taiwan unveils Asia's biggest solar plant: govt

Dec 23, 2009

Taiwan has unveiled what it calls Asia's biggest solar power plant as the island, which imports almost all its energy, seeks to tap into clean renewable resources, the government said Wednesday.

Taiwan plans massive growth in solar energy

Dec 04, 2009

Taiwan plans to boost its use of solar panels by a factor of 200 over the next decade and a half in an effort to increase clean energy, a ranking official said Friday.

Recommended for you

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

Sep 19, 2014

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

Sep 19, 2014

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

Idealistic Norwegian sun trappers

Sep 19, 2014

The typical Norwegian owner of a solar heating system is a resourceful man in his mid-fifties. He is technically skilled, interested in energy systems, and wants to save money and protect the environment.

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Scottingham
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2014
Will they power storage facilities as well? It'd be cool if they also rolled out an aggressive electric car plan. The batteries in the cars themselves could provide the grid substantial demand smoothing abilities.

Even used electric car batteries would work great in this situation (esp since they are no longer useful in a car).

Ultimately though I'd like to see them be one of the first to implement an Ambri type system.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Mar 20, 2014
Another one of the Canary islands close by is Fuerte Ventura (and you can guess what that name means). The region has almost constant winds which makes it ideal for wind parks.
When I was there on holidays (ten years back or so) they were just putting up the first test installations on Fuerte Ventura and Lanzarote. It's so cool to see what has become of that development.
KAP55
not rated yet Mar 20, 2014
Yipes! For $110 million, they're getting 23 million nameplate Watts, at $4.78/Watt. Since their PEAK demand is 8MW, it's likely that average demand is about 6 MW, so capacity factor for the system will be somewhere around 25% or so. Wind turbines in Denmark last an average of 22 years, but I doubt that anyone has enough experience with tidal (I think that's what they are) generation to get a firm idea about lifetime; so let's assume 25 years and make wind the same. Then lifetime capital expenditures come out to nearly 9 cents per kWh, and that's not counting operation and maintenance.

A small nuclear plant could have done the same for about 1/3 the cost.
henryfunk
not rated yet Mar 21, 2014
The Danish island of Samsø has already been running on 100% sustainable energy for several years. I believe what is new about the Spanish project is that the island is to have no energy exchange with mainland Spain.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Mar 21, 2014
is that the island is to have no energy exchange with mainland Spain.

They don't have that in any case. If you look at a map you may notice that the Canary islands are quite a ways away from Spain.
Anda
5 / 5 (1) Mar 23, 2014
KAP55: you are a genius, let's put a nuclear plant in a little volcanic island...

Henryfunk. As antialias says the Canary Islands are isolated, far from Spain in front of South Morocco.