Nestled in the cerulean waters of the Atlantic Ocean, El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands, has recently achieved an extraordinary milestone that resonates far beyond its shores. For a staggering 28 consecutive days, this picturesque island has been powered exclusively by the forces of wind and water, charting a course towards a future defined by sustainability and renewable energy. As we delve into El Hierro’s remarkable journey, we unravel the intricate tapestry of innovation, commitment, and environmental stewardship that has made this achievement possible.

The Green Oasis:

El Hierro is more than just a landmass; it is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature and human endeavor. Declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and Geopark, this 1.1 million-year-old volcanic island stands as a living embodiment of the delicate balance between preserving natural wonders and harnessing their power for the greater good. With a population of around 10,000 inhabitants and a local government equally committed to sustainability, El Hierro has become a symbol of environmental responsibility, showcasing how a community can thrive while minimizing its ecological footprint.

Gorona del Viento: The Wind-Water Symphony:

At the heart of El Hierro’s green revolution is the Gorona del Viento hydroelectric power station, a technological marvel that seamlessly combines the elements of wind and water to generate power. With an installed wind power capacity of 11.5 MW, this facility is not just a power station; it’s a testament to human ingenuity. The integration of wind generation with pumped storage hydroelectric generation sets El Hierro apart as a global pioneer in sustainable energy solutions.
The Gorona del Viento operates by storing excess energy during periods of high wind activity. This surplus energy is used to pump water into a reservoir, creating a reservoir of potential energy. During times of low wind activity, this stored water is released, driving hydropower turbines and ensuring a consistent and reliable power supply. It’s a delicate dance between nature and technology, showcasing how innovation can work hand in hand with the environment to meet the energy needs of a community.

A Journey Through Time:

To truly appreciate El Hierro’s current triumph, one must delve into its past. The island’s commitment to renewable energy can be traced back to 1996 when a sustainable development plan was initiated. This plan aimed not only to guarantee an improved quality of life for the population but also to preserve the island’s natural beauty and biodiversity. It laid the groundwork for what would become a pioneering journey towards energy self-sufficiency.
El Hierro’s first significant stride towards energy self-sufficiency occurred on August 9, 2015, when the entire island ran exclusively on renewable sources for two hours. This achievement was a precursor to the groundbreaking 28-day stretch that has captured global attention. Progress has been relentless, fueled by a deep-rooted commitment to sustainability and a desire to create a model for the world to follow.
Gorona del Viento, fully operational since July 2015, has been a game-changer for El Hierro. Before its commission, renewables contributed a mere 2.2 percent to the island’s electricity demand. However, the plant’s capacity to supply all of El Hierro’s electricity needs for 18 consecutive days in January 2018 was a turning point. It showcased not only the viability of renewable energies for isolated territories but also the potential for such solutions to be scalable and applicable on a global scale.

Beyond Energy: A Holistic Approach:

El Hierro’s commitment to sustainability extends far beyond the realm of power generation. The island recognizes that true environmental stewardship involves a comprehensive approach that addresses various facets of community life. Profits derived from renewable energy sources are not pocketed; instead, they are reinvested strategically to further enhance the island’s commitment to a sustainable future.
One area of focus is the improvement of water distribution systems. Efficient water management is crucial for an island community, and El Hierro is leveraging its renewable energy profits to create more efficient systems that ensure the responsible use of this precious resource. The island’s commitment to water conservation aligns seamlessly with its broader goal of environmental sustainability.
Solar power panels are another beneficiary of El Hierro’s holistic approach. The profits from renewable energy projects are channeled into expanding solar power infrastructure, providing the community with an additional source of clean energy. This not only contributes to the island’s energy independence but also sets an example for other regions grappling with the transition to renewable sources.
Education plays a pivotal role in El Hierro’s vision for a sustainable future. The island recognizes that true change begins with knowledge, and as such, it invests in educational programs that raise awareness about environmental issues and promote sustainable practices. From schools to community workshops, El Hierro is nurturing a generation of environmentally conscious individuals who understand the importance of preserving their unique ecosystem.


In conclusion, El Hierro’s journey to 28 consecutive days powered solely by wind and water is not just a local achievement but a resounding testament to the power of human determination and innovation in the face of environmental challenges. The island stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when a community and its leaders wholeheartedly embrace the potential of renewable energy.
As the global community grapples with the urgent need for sustainable solutions, El Hierro’s success story serves as a beacon of hope. It proves that with unwavering commitment, forward-thinking policies, and innovative technologies, even the smallest corners of our planet can become pioneers in the transition towards a greener, more sustainable future.
El Hierro is not just an island; it’s a living laboratory, demonstrating that the marriage of nature and technology can create a harmonious and sustainable coexistence. As the world looks towards a future defined by renewable energy, El Hierro stands as a source of inspiration and a guiding light, showing that the path to sustainability is not just an ideal but a tangible reality that we can all strive towards.