06/05/2013

The smart island

El Hierro, the island farthest from the Iberian Peninsula and the smallest of the Canary Islands, is a quiet place. Only the wind disturbs some peace that reigns in this land.

For that wind, El Hierro is a leader in the renewable energy sector thanks to Hydroeolic Park, infrastructure that will provide the energy demanded for the entire population in 2015. The main problem with renewables today is that its energy can not be stored. This park combines the power of wind and water, so that if the energy provided by its five powerful turbines decreased by lack of wind, the two large reservoirs that complete the installation solved the problem.

The energy produced by this plant also can feed in the near future for electric cars, wich the government of the island wants to be the only running on their roads. This energy self-sufficiency can be the first step of an exportable model.

El-Hierro-isla

The island has also been privileged destination and preferred by many for diving and hiking in an almost solitary. For others it was almost unknown, but recent submarine eruptions of one of the volcanoes that surround the island, and especially something alarmists information media, have put it on the map. They have also made the most selective tourism enjoyed by the islanders down considerably.

To recoup their losses and boost the economy of El Hierro, the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism and the Chapter of the island have launched a Special Actions Program, whose first initiative has been to provide the island with a free and public Wi-Fi network.

It has been placed 26 connection points outdoors, respecting the natural environment, and using infrastructure already available, because most of the territory is protected area, Biosphere Reserve. Moreover, according to the authorities, this network will also carry out surveillance in the woods, which could prevent fires.

This Wi-Fi could be just a curiosity, but is the first step to turn El Hierro in an example of sustainability: that is, achieving economic development without outside help and without the loss of existing resources.

The main goal is to attract tourists, but those looking for sustainable tourism, benefiting the environment and respect it. Tourism is the main economic engine of the country, and from now will be ecological, technological, geological and volcanic.

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