THE Spanish Canary Island of El Hierro has been claiming to be a leading exponent of sustainable energy for years.
And it is backing up its words with actions – in 2019 more than half of the electricity used by the island was renewable.
Sustainable energy accounted for 54 per cent of the island’s electricity generation, saving almost 7,000 tonnes of fuel and 23,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
According to the management of the Gorona del Viento Wind Pumped Hydroelectric Plant, during the last months of the year there was a significant increase in renewables supply compared to 2018, but the most notable month was July.
Gorona del Viento’s Wind-Pumped Hydro Power Station succeeded in supplying electricity to El Hierro for almost 25 consecutive days. This means that during July 2019, Gorona del Viento supplied 97 per cent of the electrical energy needs of El Hierro with renewable energy.
Since then, during the later months of the year, the figures for coverage of demand from renewable sources show a significant increase on those for 2018. Although January and February saw a reduction in the amount of electricity generated by the power station in comparison with the corresponding months of 2018, due to differences in wind parameters, Gorona’s monthly electricity generation was significantly up on the figures for the previous year as the end of 2019 approached.
“Greater experience in operating the Wind-Pumped Hydro Power Station, along with favourable weather conditions, has enabled us to end the year with such good results,” explained Gorona del Viento’s Chief Executive Officer, Santiago González. “Nevertheless, we need to keep improving our running of the system which, because of its innovative nature as a world pioneering project, needs special care in its early stages. We need to come up with solutions to different scenarios that arise, just as if we were running in a car,” he added.
This year, Gorona del Viento is attempting to address issues relating to patterns of demand, as it understands that energy efficiency does not depend entirely on the generation of energy, but also on achieving satisfactory environmental and financial results. Another important element is awareness-raising among the population about consumer behaviour in the use of energy.
In addition, in the technological field, relationships with universities (as well as with other countries whose experience in areas such as wave energy and photovoltaic energy could well be useful to our island) will be the focus of the company’s activities during the coming months.