Image courtesy of SmacNHawaii via flickr
In commemoration of the Galapagos' discovery 500 years ago and 2001's devastating oil spill, Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, and the UN have announced an ambitious program to eliminate the use of fossil fuels on the islands by 2015. Their flagship initiative, the San Cristobal Wind Project, has already set up 3 wind turbines - which generate 2.4-MW, enough to halve the island's diesel fuel imports - on San Cristobal Island. The turbines are expected to supply 60-80% of the residents' needs during the windiest months.The project, an international collaboration between Ecuador, the UN Development Program and 9 of the world's largest G8 electricity countries (called the e8), aims to reduce the risk of oil spills and pollution to the islands; and help preserve its lush biodiversity. The participants will center their efforts around the promotion of renewable energy.
It was recently registered as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project under the Kyoto Protocol, which should encourage further investments by countries seeking to meet their GHG reduction commitments. It will receive most of its certified emission reduction credits for replacing its diesel-powered electricity generation with wind energy. Over the long-term, however, its stakeholders will need to find other renewable sources to replace the remaining diesel-powered electricity; because it is only windy during the months of October, November and December, they will need to invest in other green sources - possibly solar or wave energy.