The Greenest Island in the World?

The smallest and most isolated of the Canary Islands, El Hierro, has a way of combining hydro and wind power that may allow it, one day, to get all its energy from renewable sources. PHOTO: BBC

The smallest and most isolated of the Canary Islands, El Hierro, has a way of combining hydro and wind power that may allow it, one day, to get all its energy from renewable sources. PHOTO: BBC

The question is not about who has the densest forests or flora resources showing up high estimates in green. It is one of keeping up a sustained model of efficient use of alternative and natural sources of energy. And on that front, El Hierro seems like it’s well on its way to self-sufficiency on the energy front.

For more than 30 years, El Hierro has been dreaming of becoming self-sufficient. And this year it took a big step forward. At the end of June its new hydro-wind facility, Gorona del Viento, came fully on stream and in July and August it provided roughly half of the island’s energy needs.That means the island’s 10,000 inhabitants are suddenly less reliant on supplies of diesel arriving over unpredictable seas from Tenerife, 200km away. In July, Gorona del Viento saved 300 tonnes of fossil fuels, but that is predicted to rise to 500 tonnes per month before long – the equivalent of saving 40,000 barrels of oil and 19,000 tonnes of emitted CO2 per year.

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