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El Hierro Goes Off the Grid

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CitySolver
CitySolver  
5/26/2014 12:50:11 PM
User Rank Blogger
what is possible
El Hierro is a fascinating place, thanks for this article. It just shows what can be done with a little optimism. I think we could do much in the UK (an island nation of course) if we commited more 'energy' to going green. We are happy to have electric pylons scattering the countryside but hate wind turbines, which are not much more visually intrusive and dont have dangerous cables full of high voltage electricity. We have to move on from centralised energy. Its the only way forward.

NewDream
NewDream  
5/26/2014 1:18:13 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hybrid electricity
@Resurgent Phoenix, I think long-range planning is incompatible with the short attention span so evident in modern life. I remember a book called "The Five Minute Manager" which claimed that efficient managers should divide their day into five minute chunks and never spend more than that amount on any one task, problem, or employee. I think that's become the way we live our lives, for the most part, and it's hard to plan for the long term when you only think in these tiny intervals.

NewDream
NewDream  
5/26/2014 1:10:47 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Fascinating
@Resurgent Phoenix, I think you have a excellent idea. Increasing diversity in transportation and architecture by adapting to the local environment would make travel not only more interesting but also more efficient. It's a win-win situation.

It's time we stop forcing our surroundings to fit our mold, and instead fit ourselves to what is around us.

Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
5/25/2014 4:19:51 PM
User Rank Burgher
Re: Fascinating
I agree energy solutions should be developed in cooperate with the location and environment. Do you think transportation and structures should also be built with those considerations. This would make traveling more interesting as regional diversity is re introduced.

Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
5/25/2014 4:10:59 PM
User Rank Burgher
Re: Hybrid electricity
New Dream, I would add to APATHY, the "It is all about me, here and now". We need to enjoy our lives but also take action to insure the children will have a fair and good life. What happened to long range planning?

NewDream
NewDream  
5/17/2014 8:14:13 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hybrid electricity
@sunshine, thank you for posting the link to that video. It's great to see that some communities are working in this direction, which I am convinced is the right one.

 

sunshine
sunshine  
5/16/2014 7:03:18 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hybrid electricity
@NewDream, you are right that as national Governments appear unable to grasp this nettle  it would make perfect sense to apply these ideas on a local level. I guess it works best when a strong minded influential individual or group can see the benefit. In the case of El Hierro perhaps the importation of 40,000 barrels of diesel and a $1.8 million dollar bill put things into focus. 

Here in the UK most communities have strong lobby groups to prevent the construction of on-shore wind turbines as they 'ruin the countryside and are noisy'.  In 2009 the village of Fintry in Scotland went the other way and supported a wind farm to be developed in the area provided that the developer built an extra turbine for the community.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRA4fGg6ZvE

This forward thinking provided an income stream for the community which allows revenue from the turbine to reduce fuel poverty and introduce new facilities for the community.

Why isn't this happening all over the UK? ....  I think you're right in many cases it's apathy, and in others resistance to change, in all cases it's lack of imagination about the real benefits of new, more sustainable, technologies.

Flanagan55
Flanagan55  
5/16/2014 9:03:17 AM
User Rank Village Voice
Fascinating
I think this touches on a few critical points for renewable energy implementaiton. First, I like that they have made use of multiple renewable systems. Combining both wind and water power offers redundancy, and I think at this stage in the game it's a critical element to the system. In the event the wind is blowing, they have a backup plan. In the event the water runs out, they have a diesel plant. Contingency plans are in place. 

The other reality here is their physical terrain conducive to wind. Not everyplace can say the same, though the US in particular has many regions that it would be sensible. 

It was interesting they avoided solar as an option, even as a backup plan. I feel it's ingenious how they used the land and terrain they had to steer their decisions. This should be done all ove the world. Engineering a resvoir up a volcano crater to slowly release water in a controlled setting to spin turbines is simple, yet vital. Nicely done. 

kq4ym
kq4ym  
5/15/2014 2:14:02 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Hybrid electricity
A very interesting energy solution for islanders and the local governments on them. I wonder if the concept could be applied to landlocked smaller areas as well in suitable geologic areas elsewhere. The small population (6000 vehicles on the island) certainly must be taken into consideration when looking at the costs, but if wind, water and vehicle conversions seem appropriate, it sounds like a good plan to proceed.

Toby
Toby  
5/15/2014 11:29:01 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Energy Independent Island States
@susan: Well yes, in that sense they had abundant natural resources and a big hole in the ground on top of a hill. Whats not to like? I am off to Scotland soon where they have those same resources but in general little wind turbines as there are too many objections to putting towers on sacred moorland or atop the great glens.....someone has to make some tough decisions.

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