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First hydro-wind power Plant in Spain and Worldwide
28 June 2014 @ 17:59

      El Hierro island is the smallest --but with the highest mountains-- of the Canary Islands (South Western Spain) and it has almost 11,000 inhabitants.

El Hierro island (Canary Islands, South western Spain) 

       El Hierro always wanted to be a very natural island and now it seems that it will get, because it is already the first island in the world, which has a Central Hydro-wind and that means this island will not need to depend on oil ever.

      The island of El Hierro has taken a giant step on the path, that has decided to take to become an island capable of self-sufficient in energy without dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. Yesterday, it has opened the hydro-wind power “Gorona of the Wind”, which become, the smallest and youngest of the Canary Islands, in the first in the world to generate their electricity with renewable energy.

Hydro-Wind Plant in El Hierro

      This advancement of engineering has some magic. Same as Garoé  --a sacred tree, to the Aboriginal islanders, whose leaves caught the fog-water--, the hydro-wind plant of El Hierro will distil deionized water drops and light thanks to the combination of wind and water, with its hydroelectric plant and its five wind turbines.

Water pipes and wind turbines in El Hierro

      But that El Hierro Island is the first self-sufficient in electricity, in the world, will occur gradually and not of the overnight.

      At the end of the year, it is estimated to provide among 70 and 80% of electricity to the grid.

      The power plant of the “Gorona of the wind” will replace the previous diesel power plant on the island. The ingenuity, that has been devised, is as simple as generating electricity through two simultaneous sources of supply: wind and water.

      The main element is a plant with two water tanks connected by a pipe 6,000 meters and, the second one, a wind park with five wind turbines, interconnected with the existing electrical system, owned by ENDESA.


Water pipes from the                       The five wind turbines.

upper reservoir the lower 


      Seawater is collected, desalted and reaches the first reservoir (upper one). From there it is released to the second pool (lower one), to generate electricity, like the waterfall in a hydraulic power plant.


Purifying saltwater

A drawing about the Purifying saltwater and the lower reservoir

A picture of the Purifying saltwater

The lower reservoir

The lower reservoir empty

The upper reservoir

How works the Hydro-wind power Plant

      The construction of the plant has also experienced its vicissitudes, including the discovery of an archaeological site, La Restinga earthquakes or the two years, that it took to bring, in boat and truck, 6,000 meters of pipe and 55,000 kilos of iron.

      The ambitious project has been 82 million euros and it is promoted by Gorona of the Wind, owned by the Inter-island Council of El Hierro (60%), Endesa (30%) and the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands (10%).

      Water is a scarce commodity, around the Canary Islands and, in the case of El Hierro, its absence has forced emigration several generations.

      It has always been a constant search for the islanders: first with the tree Garoé of the old bimbaches and, then, through the prayers to the Virgin of the Kings. In this century, the technological Garoé of the hydro-wind plant will distil deionized water and light too.

      The management of water resources in El Hierro, desalination and distribution consumes nearly 50% of the annual energy demand, a sign of the close dependency among water and energy.

      In some completely dependent on foreign and isolated places, --Ptolemy placed the prime meridian on El Hierro, ie, the "end of the world" in ancient times--, water and energy are essential to the survival of the community, its culture and traditions.

      But the miracle of the technological Garoé does not stop here. El Hierro aims to be completely self-sufficient when they replace gasoline of cars and installing solar panels for heating. Thus, it may be the first  territory, in the world, to isolated self-sufficient with renewable, a world reference in sustainability.

      The Canary political forces are thus completed a journey, that began 20 years ago, on an island, where the electrification did not arrive until 1979 and roads were scarce. The first economic items arrived in 2000, and the project developers had to fight for it, against successive central governments.

      The plant provides a source of revenue for the council: two million per year, the collection provided by the energy it provides pouring to grid. To this is added 1.8 million, by the savings on its energy bill, by not having to import fossil fuels.

      “Now, holding a "vanguard" in the fight against climate change and be a leader in the field of energy and sustainable tourism”, as the president of the Council of El Hierro, Alpidio Armas, has said. In fact, the islands of our planet, more than 100,000, are a "lighthouse" to renewable energy transition, has been defended, these days, at a forum, held in the Canary island, where they have reviewed several real success stories.

       Cause the conditions of energy dependence and environmental quality, they are (all the islands in the world) also some "experimental laboratories", for the introduction and development of clean energy, to benefit the 600 million people who live in them.    

      Well, I hope that you have liked this post and you come to El Hierro, as soon as you can.

      Till soon, kind regards,


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