Canary Islands, Spain

Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Canary Islands, renewable energy in Canary Island.


The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago which forms one of the Spanish Autonomous Communities and an Outermost Region of the European Region. The archipelago is located in the northwest coast of Africa, 100 km west of the disputed border between Marocco and the Western Sahara (Figure 1).[1] The Canarian Archipelago[2] is made up by ten islands, from largest to smallest are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, Alegranza, La Graciosa, and Montaña Clara.[1] With the area of 7,447 km2 and coastline 1,531 km, the population of Canary Islands is around 1.7 million people. The population represents 0,028% of the world population.[2]

Figure 1. The Canarian Archipelago in the northwest coast of Africa[1][3]

Tourist Industry
Canary Islands from tourist sector has a number of tourist per year around 10 million people. This industry have strong role played on the regional GDP. The growing of water production is resulted from that background.[2]

Water Desalination
Desalination technology has represented a survival factor for many communities in the islands in the last 30 years. Desalination is closely attached to human. It is very difficult to imagine life in the Canary Islands without extensive application of different desalination techniques. Today, water desalination goes beyond some techniques for water treatment. Water supply in the Canary Islands is based on desalination. Desalination plants supply water to 1 million people and and almost all tourist visited the islands.[2]

Energy
There are three facts about energy resources and generation in the Canary Islands. First, there is no connection through submarine cable. Second, each island generates own electricity. Third, there is no conventional energy resources, including ground water resources.[2]


Background of Renewable Energy Development
In the past, these islands had to be supplied with water from the Navy tank vessels. In fact neither the population, nor the tourist sector and even the farming industry would have gone so far without desalination technologies. The first desalination plant was installed in 1964 in the island of Lanzarote. The plant had a capacity of 2,300 m3/d. Today, the desalination capacity is approximately 315,000 m3/d. It represents 2% of the world desalination capacity. The production is diversified in all kinds of processes and plants of every size and capacity. In the case of Lanzarote which depends on desalination 97% to supply water throughout the island, 40% of its energy is used to produce water.[2]

The high demand of energy to produce water is resulted as a major disadvantage of water shortage solution. It depends strongly on energy, the amount, and price of it. Due to this condition, the Canary Islands have started the industrial production of drinking water from seawater using local and renewable energy resources mainly wind and solar energy, without disregarding other term possibilities. It is hoped that this development can give contribution (on the part of the Canary Islands) to several local and industrial developments.[2]


Desalination with Renewable Energy
Stand Alone Systems Sea Water Desalination with an autonomous Wind Energy System (SDAWES Project)

The system is made up by two synchronous wind turbines, connected in parallel and isolated from the electrical grid, with 230 kW of nominal power each one. These wind turbines supply the necessary power for the operation of the different desalination plants associated to the project. The complete systems are wind farms, desalination plants, and water circuits.[2]

The project has been co-financed with the European Commission through the JOULE Program; the ITC is the co-ordinator of the project. The other partners of the project are: the University of Las Palmas of Gran Canaria (ULPGC); ENERCON; the research centre Instituto de Energías Renovables of Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (IERCIEMAT), and the Centre of Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST), and National Engineering Laboratory (NEL).[2]


Wind Generator with Mechanical Coupling to a Desalination Plant (Aerodesa I Project)
Low-tech wind generator with a rated power of 15 kW, specially designed to be coupled to a seawater Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) desalination plant (capacity of 10 m3/d) with a mechanical coupling system and seawater as a control fluid. The unit has been designed for both ordinary and low maintenance conditions, which is essential in isolated areas or developing countries. The project can be installed in an area with a medium wind speed.[2]

The project has been financed by the government of Canary Islands. It has been carried out by ITC (Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias).[2]


Wind Generator with Hydraulic Coupling to a Desalination Plant (Aerodesa II Project)
Wind generator with a rated power of 15 kW, specially designed to be coupled to a seawater Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) desalination plant of two modules (rate capacity of 15 m3/d) with a oil-hydraulic mechanical coupling system. It is allowing a high automation of the system. The oil-hydraulic system, which act as a control system, allows the desalination plant to work under nominal conditions. The unit has been designed for both ordinary and low maintenance conditions, which is essential in isolated areas or developing countries. The project can be installed in an area with a medium wind speed.[2]

The project has been financed by the Government of the Canary Islands. The project has been carried out by ITC (Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias).[2]


Wind Turbine Electrical Coupled to a Desalination Plant (Aerogedesa Project)
Electrical coupling from a 15 kW commercial wind turbine to Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) desalination plant (desalination capacity 18 m3/d). It operates under under a constant regime and manage the storage and available wind energy through a battery bank. The battery bank guarantees the washing system is filled with seawater and a longer working life of the membrane. The whole system is fully automated. The project can be installed in an area with an average wind speed and no grid connection because of economic reasons.[2]

The project has been financed by the Government of the Canary Islands. The project has been carried out by ITC (Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias).[2]


Desalination Plant Coupled to a Solar Photovoltaic Field (Dessol Project)
The project consists of design, installation estimation, and optimization of a drinking water production system in coastal areas isolated from the electrical grid. It is made up by a Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) desalination plant (capacity 3 m3/d) driven by an isolated photovoltaic array (peak capacity 4.8 kW). The system has been designed to produce a minimum of 800 l/d under normal conditions of solar radiation in subtropical areas.[2]

The project has been jointly financed with the German association AG-SOLAR. The project has been carried out by ITC (Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias) and REWET (Germany).[2]


Desalination Plant Driven by Low Temperature Solar Thermal Energy System (Sodesa Project)
The project consists of the design, installation and estimation of a distillation system working under 80°C and severe weather conditions driven by solar collectors (50 m2 of total surface). The system has an approximate production of 700 l/d.[2]

The project has been co-financed with the European Commission through the program JOULE, carried out in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (the co-ordinator of the project), the ZAE-Bayern Centre for Applied Research and the Agricultural University of Athens.[2]


Wind-Diesel System for Water and Electricity Supply in the island of Fuerteventura (Punta Jandia Project)
This project is focused on the basic elements for living in a community on water, energy, and improvement of the economic infrastructure of the population. The difficulties of a fishermen's community, without power mains (the electricity grid ends 20 km before the village), have turned (by the project) into an increase of the living standards through a full self-supply of:[2]
  • drinkable water, through a Reverse Osmosis plant powered by wind energy, with the possibility of water processing.
  • energy self-supply through a wind-diesel system isolated from the grid.
  • improvement of the economic conditions of the fishermen with an ice generation plant and a cold-storage plant to freeze fish. These plants are also powered by a wind-diesel system.

Project Location
Puerto de la Cruz, at the southernmost part of the Jandía Peninsula, on the Island of Fuerteventura (Canary Islands), is a small, isolated fishermen village (with a total lack of energy resources and drinking water). The village is located 20 Km away from the residential and tourist resort of Morro Jable, in the municipality of Pájara, where the electrical grid ends.[2]

Project Achievements
The project meets two different goals at a general and local level. At a general level, the project aims to demonstrate how a renewable, non-pollutant and independent power source, transformed by an advanced technology, can achieve self supply for a community, within a satisfactory living standard, avoiding negative impacts on the environment. At a local level, the project intends to stop an uncontrolled tourist development of the area located in a protected natural place because of its limited energy and water resources.[2]

Benefits of the project
There are three benefits resulted from the project for the project area:[2]
  • From the environment point of view: This project reduces CO2 emissions and avoids laying down the electric grid with the subsequent devastation of the environment, using natural resources (wind) and protecting the environment.
  • From the social point of view: The project contributes directly to improve the working conditions of the community. The productive capacity of the fishermen, who no longer depend on the people spending the day in the place to sell the fish, will be increased. Due to to the ice generation plant and the cold-storage plant, now they can store their fish stocks.
  • From the sustainability point of view: The understanding and meaning of the new technological systems will be improved (through this project) by the improvement of the living standards. The aim is to make it clear that sometimes this is the only way to keep a sustainable development outside the big cities and large human concentrations and avoid the emigration to these areas.

The project has been cofinanced with the European Commission through the VALOREN Program; Town council of Pájara (Fuerteventura), Fuerteventura Water Association, Industry Council (Government of the Canary Islands) and the Institute of Renewable Energies (IERCIEMAT). The partners involved were the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) and the Institute of Renewable Energies (IER-CIEMAT). Nowadays ITC is managing the project.[2]


Information Related


List of References
  1. Canary Islands. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canary_Islands. Accessed April 11, 2010.
  2. The Canary Islands: A World Laboratory for RET-desalination. http://old.insula.org/islandsonline/Canary%20islands%20RET%20desalination-1.pdf. Accessed November 22, 2009.
  3. Canary Maps. http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/europe/canarynw.gif. Accessed April 11, 2010.