Life from an outsider's perspective…

Harnessing the power of the wind in the South of Tenerife.

Wind farms in Tenerife. Wind powered turbine generators in the Canary Islands, Spain.ITER refers to the windmill farms as “Parques Eólicos” not “Molinos” as you might think. And unlike the fake, stationary molino that was built not far from my place last year, these ones actually work! There are three such wind parks located at Grandailla & Arico in the South of Tenerife, with a combined annual energy production of 36.764 MWh/year. These are enough to effectively reduce the petroleum consumption by 3170 tonnes per year, which is what would have been used to generate the same amount of energy from conventional means.

Harnessing the power of the wind in the South of Tenerife.They may all look the same, but ITER uses aerogenerators which are supplied from several different manufacturers: Vestas, Ecotecnia, Made, and Enercon. They’re currently experimenting which ones are the most suitable (offering least noise & superior performance).

Interestingly, Spain already generates the highest proportion of it’s energy from wind energy (compared to other countries) and the new industry is booming. Here is a regularly updated graph of wind power generation in Spain (represents ~80% of the total wind power output across the country). I’m sure that the extremely windy weather we experienced yesterday in Tenerife those turbines would have been working overtime; just have a look at this recent wind power generation record:

With strong winds lashing the country last weekend the country’s wind farms generated a whopping 9,862 Mw of power, more than 40 per cent of demand… between Friday and Sunday wind power made up 28 per cent of the electricity supplied to the National Grid, putting Spain at the forefront of the world’s renewable energy producers measured by population. Spain, together with Germany and Denmark, are Europe’s biggest producers of wind power – Spain aims to triple its output by 2020! Source

“To dismiss wind energy as an expensive, niche green luxury, as many do, is to ignore what has happened in Spain, the world’s number one wind market”, said Millais. “The political drivers in Spain have largely been about economic development especially in the regions, creating jobs, competing in world markets, all against a background of surging energy demand, an increasing proportion of expensive energy imports, and recently a challenging Kyoto target. On all these points, wind is a winning choice”.  Source: a brief report from the European Wind Energy Association.

Sure, I know some people comment that wind turbines are ugly and spoil the landscape. But in my mind, they stand as monuments, tantamount to a brighter future. Where would you rather stop for lunch? The Granadilla wind park, or the more conventional fossil-fueled power plant at Las Caletillas??? I’m certain that this Tenerife resident knows the answer to that question. (residents of La Laguna & Santa Cruz might also remember that the goverment is looking for a site to build the third conventional power station in their own neighbourhood)

 

Spain is in the European Union vanguard as the Union targets renewables for a 20 percent share of overall energy production by 2010, contrasted with a projected 3 percent for Japan, for example.

Wind farms are a major part of the Spanish strategy, and the share of overall wind farm production is set to double to 12 percent over the next four years, giving some 20,000 megawatts of installed capacity. In the United States, one megawatt of wind power generates enough electricity for 240 to 300 homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Spain, where the energy market was deregulated in 1998, is second only to Germany and just ahead of the United States in terms of installed wind power capacity, at 8,155 megawatts in December 2004, compared with 14,000 megawatts for Germany.

Solar power is also on the rise, with the Spanish photovoltaic association, www.asif.org, forecasting growth of as much as 1,100 megawatts by 2010, exceeding government forecasts more than twice over. Source

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