The Renewable Island of El Hierro
A dedicated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve the small Canary island of El Hierro has incredible biological diversity and huge variations in climate and topography. Until Columbus sailed the Atlantic in 1492, El Hierro was officially thought of as the end of the World and whilst it remains remote, this dramatic place has become a globally renowned as an example of sustainable development. In 2014, it was the first island to be renewable energy self-sufficient and it continues to pioneer sustainable initiatives such as electric cars, solar technology, biofuels and organic farming. Environmental scientists, energy firms, politicians and PHD students continue to visit from as far as Indonesia and Tonga to discover more about the islands approach to environmental protection and renewables.
All Images Copyright Jim Johnston 2017.
The Gorona del Viento Wind Hydro power station. On rare windless days or when energy demands are high, releasing water powers the hydro plant ensuring a continuous supply.
The Gorona del Viento Hydro power station located below the artifical 150 000 m3 basin water basin.
Five wind urbines create more far more power than the island of El Hierro consumes.
Valverde. Until recently every one of El Hierro’s 10,000 residents were dependant on imported fuel for their energy needs.
Frontera Plateau. The El Hierro government aims to convert farming into 100% organic production by using biodigesters to transform waste into nutrient inputs.
Entrance to Banana Plantation. La Restinga.
La Restinga Banana Plantation. The community of El Hierro aims to produce all local food 100% organically by 2020.
A drive towards organic farm are part of an continued sustainable development programme that allows the islanders to live in harmony with the unique island ecosystem.
An rental car climbs the twisty H-500. The El Hierro government aims to connect all energy elements to the Gorena del Viento starting with 7 electric car recharging points in 2017.
The UNESCO award and community focused energy system has increased the islanders motivation for preserving natural marine habitats and promoting sustainable tourism on the island.
In 1997, El Hierro was the first island in the Canary archipelago to adopt a Sustainability Plan. Today, over 60% of the islands habitats are enviornmentally protected.
El Hierro is a pioneering example of sustinability, continuing to approach development in harmony with natural ecosystems.