Monthly Archives: February 2016

“El Hierro, a 100% renewable electricity island ?”

El Hierro, a 100% renewable electricity island ?

Hubert Flocard

(“El Hierro, une île à l’électricité 100% renouvelable ?”)


Quick english translating french NGO “Let’s Save The Climate” :

This summer, media have plenty commented of what the island of El Hierro, in the Canary Islands, now benefited from a 100% renewable electricity mix. In fact this ad was not supported by all and for all, that two hours of operation of the facility Gorona del Viento (GoV). On 9 August, a brief demonstration line with the objective announced in the project document has been completed. Cheerful, on behalf of the Union of Renewable Energy, Segolene Royal, the environment minister and the French energy immediately rewarded the project.

What is the overall findings today, this facility opened in June 2014? A considerable financial investment, based on 43% of the Spanish and European public subsidies, leading to a complex system with more than 34 MW of installed capacity (diesel, wind and energy transfer pumping station by one third each) on an island whose maximum power requirement of only 7.6 MW, four times less.

GdV product that has almost nothing for a whole year woke up in late June 2015. The reality of performance after six months of real operation in the second half of 2015 is as follows: For the three months more favorable because the windiest from late June to late September, the renewable contribution was less than 42%. On a half year, the result is even more disappointing with only 30% renewable coverage. For 13% of the time, power consumption has been fully ensured by the diesel plant. In fact, given the wind and electricity consumption, even though every effort had been made to achieve the best possible coverage renewable, one that could not exceed 46.3%.

What explains such modest performance against stated objectives, leading to considerable cost per MWh produced by GoV since 2015, it will be about four times the price of MWh provided by the diesel plant and resulting in a cost of avoided CO2 over 1000 € / ton ? We have identified two causes: first the limitations of wind generation that is in summer is too strong for the hydraulic capacity of the plant or at other times is almost nonexistent; secondly, the contract that the Spanish state has agreed to sign with the funder consortium to 57% of the cost of GoV, a contract that does not favor the search for optimal environmental performance.

In short, unrealistic announcements, gullible media deplorable governance and a very expensive technical partial success for the Spanish citizen.

Hubert Flocard describes the functions and capabilities of El Hierro in a study to download to:

(In french)