El Hierro Hydrowind Power Plant
The entry of renewable energies into the energy mix is ever more fundamental to ensuring the sustainability of electricity systems. Energies such as wind and photovoltaic are subject to resource availability and this determines demand satisfaction. Energy storage methods, such as hydraulic tanks, can help mitigate these problems and improve the integration of these systems, in the search for a cleaner and more sustainable planet, seekings to minimize the emission of greenhouse gases.
The challenge of energy self-sufficiency
The island of El Hierro has taken up the challenge of ensuring that the electric power supplied to the island comes mostly from renewable energy sources. To this end, a hydro-electric plant has been built and commissioned. This plant combines 11.5 MW of installed power from wind generators with a reversible hydroelectric plant. The hydroelectric power plant has an installed power of 11 MW of generation and 6 MW of pumping power. Considering that the demand peak of the island is 7.5 MW, this configuration means that, in certain conditions, demand on the island can be fully met with clean and inexhaustible energies.
IDOM has participated in the project from the conception phase to its implementation, providing engineering services, procurement management and technical assistance for the construction and commissioning. The El Hierro Hydroelectric Plant began operations in July 2015 and its operation has been refined over time until, in February 2018, it reached the milestone of supplying the island’s consumption for 18 days in a row with 100 % renewable energies. It is expected that, in the coming years, the plant will supply over 65% of the total demand of the island. Increasing the renewable power generation (more wind, solar, etc.), the system could come close to 100%.