Gallery: El Hierro: The World’s First Renewable Energy Island… or is It...


El Hierro, the smallest and southern-most island of the Canaries, made headlines recently after it announced plans to become the world’s first island to eradicate its carbon footprint and run completely off 100% renewable energy sources. The Huffington Post reported how El Hierro will be powered by an 11.5 MW wind farm, 11.3 MW of hydroelectric power and a whole bunch of solar thermal collectors and grid-connected photovoltaics. The fact that oil will no longer be transported to this remote location will offset 18,200 tons of carbon dioxide alone. These are undeniably impressive statistics and the project represents a wonderful opportunity for Swiss-Swedish power giant, ABB. Plans call for this ambitious project to be completed by the end of 2011 and will cost $87 million. However there is one problem with the claim that El Hierro is “the world’s first renewable energy island” – it isn’t.

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  1. ecstatist October 21, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Hopefully E. H. will be the first completely independent, renewable energy consuming island.(And if we are being pedantic, 200 years ago, nearly all islands were like this and presently there are still a few sparsely inhabited islands where only wind and solar generation with battery stored energy is consumed, or where “primitive” people do not use electricity, fossil fuels etc.)
    Because of steep high volcanoes, E H can store wind produced excess energy, by pumping water up to a height, for use later when there may be no wind.
    Samso indirectly relies on “conventional” energy sources for energy storage!

  2. carl scrivens August 26, 2011 at 5:59 am

    What are the enviromentol costs for the island compared to the longterm enviromentol benefits

  3. ajaybabu1 July 11, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Dear Mr. Jones:
    At the outset, please accept my apologies – when i read “it isn’t” at the end of your article – i pre-judged that you are one of those pompous a*****s that do nothing, but critique.
    But upon clicking on the link – and realizing that what you meant was Samse was the first (while in the same breath you took nothing away from the El Hierro folks) – i realized my folly. Please forgive me.

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