Hierro: Spain's Completely Renewable Island


Spain has declared that El Hierro, one of the smallest of Spain's Canary Islands, will soon be completely carbon neutral. The island, with a population of around 10,000, will be powered by a combination of wind and hydroelectric power.

Most of the islands power will be taken from it's 10 megawatt hydroelectric infrastructure. Interestingly, excess wind power will actually be used to pump water uphill into one of two reservoirs. The potential energy of that water will then become a kind of gigantic battery for times when the wind isn't so strong. This unique system basically allows for wind power to become a steady, instead of intermittent, source of power.

The wind turbines will also power a desalination plant for the islands population. Of course, just in case, a diesel generator will be maintained just in case the carbon-neutral system fails. No word on exactly when the system will be up and running, but the windfarm and pumping stations are already being built. ::AP

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