El Hierro Biosphere Reserve supplied for the first time exclusively with renewable energy

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Windmills, Hierro Biosphere Reserve, Spain
© Carlos Teixidor Cadenas/Wikimedia Commons.

On Sunday, 9 August 2015 at 12:00 pm, an important milestone was reached by the wind-hydro plant of Gorona del Viento. I For the first time, it supplied the entire electricity demand of the Isla de El Hierro Biosphere Reserve (Spain) using renewable sources.

The President of the Island Government, Ms Belén Allende, said that this was a very important milestone for the Island of El Hierro, for the Canary Islands, Europe and the world, as it shows that it is possible for renewable energy sources to meet all of the requirements of the population and for the consumption of fossil fuels to be discontinued.

Due to the variability of wind, it is impossible to fully meet the energy needs of the area with wind power, so experts decided to combine it with a hydraulic power source to make the island the first to be self-supplied by renewable energies.

The process to make El Hierro an island supplied fully with renewable energy began in 2009 and the operation test of the plant and itsnetwork integration began in June 2014.

With a total area of 278 square kilometers and about 10,700 inhabitants, the island of Hierro, the westernmost and southernmost of the Canary Islands, was  declared as a biosphere reserve in 2000.

Biosphere reserves are sites established by countries and recognized by the Man and the Biosphere Programme of UNESCO to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and with the support of government, science and knowledge. These are areas where innovative sustainable development models are tested locally, so that they can later be replicated at the regional and international level.