2011-06-23 - A Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean is set to become the first island in the world to be powered solely by renewable energy. The $87 million project will provide electricity for the island's 11,000 inhabitants using a combination of wind power and pumped water storage. ABB power and automation technologies are playing a leading role.
Located about 1,500 kilometers off the Spanish coast in the Atlantic Ocean, El Hierro is the smallest and most remote of the Canary Islands, an archipelago of sun-drenched Spanish islands and one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.
Like many remote islands, El Hierro generates electricity with diesel oil transported from mainland terminals by oil tanker. The carbon impact is significant - in El Hierro’s case it amounts to 18,200 tons of CO2 per year in power generation emissions alone, an impact that the renewable energy project will eliminate.
The project consists of an 11.5 megawatt (MW) wind farm and an 11.3 MW hydroelectric pumped storage plant that will provide the island’s 11,000 inhabitants with 80 percent of their energy needs. The remaining 20 percent will be generated by solar thermal collectors and grid-connected photovoltaic systems.
ABB is playing a lead role in the project by providing a power and automation solution that will electrify and control the hydroelectric pumped storage plant, and integrate into the island grid the energy generated by wind and hydropower turbines.