One thing that the world has been racing towards is the use of renewable energy in place of utilizing sources of energy that are harmful to the environment. By harnessing the power of nature and figuring out the best course of action when it comes to taking care of our planet, more and more countries are at least starting to transition to renewable resources.
The World's First Population Sustained Entirely on Renewable Energy
In a landmark recent development, El Hierro, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, has actually become the first territory in the world to be run 100% on renewable power sources. This is a huge feat, considering that harvesting renewable energy requires relatively new technologies that are still advancing and working toward becoming more efficient replacements for fossil fuels. Many people have actually tried to find ways to do this in other parts of the world, but technology has yet to advance far enough to provide a cost-efficient and sustainable method for supporting large populations. Thanks to the size and relatively small amount of people living on El Hierro, the accomplishment was a bit more realistic.
Power Struggle: Harnessing Nature's Potential
How did they do it? By developing a source of energy that utilized a hybrid system, drawing on multiple sources of power to ensure that electricity is always available. Here's a closer look at the system that they've developed and implemented on El Hierro:
The majority of the system that the island uses is run on wind power. Wind power has become incredibly popular, as the infrastructure required is fairly easy to construct and generally inexpensive. Some people consider the wind turbines to be a bit of an eyesore, but most will agree that it's the best way to go about dealing with the need for renewable energy. The wind turbines actually supply up to 80% of the island's power, which is a considerable amount when you look at how much energy is needed in order to power the entire island. Yes, it may be small, but that doesn't mean that this isn't a large feat!
Of course, the wind doesn't always blow, even on an island that gets ocean breezes on a regular basis. What happens at that point? In order to fill in the gaps in power production left over by the wind turbines, island officials decided to utilize the ocean itself in producing the necessary energy to supply a constant flow of power. The water turbines work in much the same fashion as the wind ones, but they are meant to be a backup plan so that the water's energy can be used for other things in the future (and also because wind is known to be a bit more efficient in terms of how much power it can produce per hour).
Where do we go from here?
Renewable energy is a huge part of our future and as time goes on, more of Europe will likely be following the example of El Hierro. It will certainly be interesting to see and explore how more of the world follows what is necessary in order to keep the environment as clean and healthy as possible. In the meantime, we can each do our share in being part of a grander solution with everything from recycling to eco-friendly travel.