International Study of RE-Regions: Tenerife Island, Spain

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

Tenerife, a Spanish island, is the largest of the seven Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean of the coast of Africa (Figure 1). It is located in central position between the other Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, La Gomera, and La Palma. The island is about 300 km from the African coast and 1,000 km from the Iberian Peninsula.[1]

 

Tenerife Island has an area of 2,034.28 km2 and 899,833 inhabitants (2008) divided into 31 municipalities. It is the most populated island of the Canary Islands and Spain, around 43% of the population of the Canary Islands population is on this island. The capital is Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The city is capital of the autonomous community of Canary Islands, sharing government institutions (with Las Palmas). Tourism dominates the Tenerifian economy, the service sector is the largest, but industry and commerce contribute around 40% of the non-tourist economy. In 2005, there were 3,442,787 tourists came to the island. The energy sector contributes around 2.85%. It has a role in the development of renewable energy sources. In the capital city, there is a research institute of renewable energy “the Instituto Tecnológico de Energías Renovables.[1]

Status

Tenerife has pioneered bio climatic. In 1990, the world’s first village of bio climatic house have been set up.[2] Energy systems in the Canary Islands are characterized by isolation and up to now fossil fuels have been the primary source of energy.[3] To make the island “greener”, the government is committed to implement some actions and focus on renewable energies especially photovoltaic, wind power, and geothermal.[2]

Background of Renewable Energy Development

Tenerife has been a favorite destination for UK visitors for some time.[2][4] Going green and protecting the environment is one way that Tenerife can protect its status as a “hot holiday spot”. The island is vulnerable because it is so dependent on tourism. Changing climates could easily put the island out of business and entirely change the nature.[4]

Goal

The goal is to protect its status as a “hot holiday spot”.[4]

Target

The target is to achieve 100% self-sufficient with renewable energy with the Tenerife 100 program.[3]

Implementation Planning of Renewable Energy Development

Some implementation as a realization of the government’s commitment to make the island greener are:[2]

  • Sustainable public transport to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles and conserve the environment;
  • high speed railways for the north and south;
  • cycle lanes and bike rental;
  • preserving the natural and cultural values and extending the metropolitan tram network.

Tenerife Goes Green

Tenerife is doing a lot to protect its beautiful and natural environment. They’ve made a commitment to individuals and companies to go beyond the basics and protect the environment of the island with aggressive tactics. One of the actions related to renewable energy development is the island has been using renewable energy since the plan was devised back in 1990[4] (village of bio climatic).[2]

Mancomunidad of North Tenerife

This association was established in 1993 to cover the existing needs by its nature escape from competences of each municipality. It promotes collective initiatives that in autonomous way would be very difficult to be accomplished by each town hall. Many activities and services had been developed, one of them was local development area. There were some number of projects had been involved, related to the STRATING project and European programs. One of European programs in the field of renewable energy was HIDROBUS.[5]

Programs for Renewable Energy Development

Tenerife 100 Programs

It is a model of renewable energy sources integration to achieve the target of 100% self-sufficiency with renewable energy. The scenario derived from the actual situation in the island. In 1997, only 1.4% of energy consumed comes from clean energy sources. The strategy would be developed for a regional high-level water and energy production with renewable energy and desalination systems. The solution for traditional transportation would be fuel cells, electrical or hybrid vehicles with batteries or natural gas.[6]

Hydrobus

  • The main objective: to promote energy saving and the use of renewable energies which could assure the availability of fuel supplies in the transport sector.[5]
  • The scheme: Buses traveling between the main holiday resorts and towns will run on hydrogen and the hydrogen generators will use wind power.[2]

Developing of Photovoltaic and Wind Power

Renewable energy sources especially photovoltaic and wind power are developed to improve and diversify Tenerife’s energy mix and dependence on the exterior.[2]

Research on Geothermal Resources

  • The company explores and develops geothermal energy: Petraterm[7]
  • Background of Development: the population of the Tenerife Island reaches more than 1.5 million during the peak tourist season. The demand for power increases to more than 800 megawatts during that time.[7]
  • Project duration: two years.[3]
  • The plan: to build two 50 to 100 MW geothermal plants.[3]
  • Collaboration: Institute of Renewable Energy Technologies of the Tenerife Government or ITER (to monitor the Island’s volcanic activity) and the global geothermal consultant (to provide assistance to the company).[7]

Bio Climatic Village

It is a project of the 25 sustainable homes that have been built in the world’s first sustainable residential complex. The building incorporates renewable energies into architecture. The houses are located on Tenerife’s Institute for Technology and Renewable Energies (ITER) land in the south of Tenerife. The homes were designed by architects selected during an international contest organized by ITER and each home reflects each architect’s individual sustainable solution.[8]

 

Aim

The project was aimed to reduce the following problems:

 

  • High energy consumption in dwelling.
  • High emission of pollutants as a consequence of building.
  • Scarce use of renewable energy and recycled water system.

Main Objectives of the Project

Main objectives of the project were:

 

  • The construction of a development of 25 bio-climatic dwelling based on different designing approaches and using recycled and recyclable materials with individual solutions to the energy problem by mean of renewable energy, and common solutions for water supply. The whole structure is to be understood as a nonpolluting development, self-sufficient regarding energy and water and achieve important saving through the bio-climatic nature of design.
  • To provide innovative solutions for PV integration in buildings. To optimize performances of PV implementations and reducing cost of installations by using direct current at high voltage and high efficiency PV cells.
  • To give a local solution to many problems regarding energy production and consumption, as well as the use of renewable energy at a small scale. The dwellings will be integrated in a urban development that would allow a technical and scientific tourism to come and stay in this place using the common areas and evaluating results. The experience could be applied later in other areas with similar characteristic, allowing the dissemination of experience and knowledge developed in this kind of buildings.

Choosing of Location

The 25 bioclimatic dwellings development are located on the coastline of the south of the Island of Tenerife (Spain), along a dry ravine. The main reasons were:[9]

  • large number of sun hours;
  • constant winds of a considerable force (7-8 m/s);
  • scarce rainfall;
  • arid land.

Bioclimatic House

  • The construction is based on each architect’s design on his or her own environmental ideas. It affords a unique opportunity to study the outcomes of each and every one of the different techniques used. Even the design is different, they share some common features, such as thermal insulation for the prevention of heat and cold loss and reduction of external noise.[8]
  • The house is possible to be monitored the sustainability and assess the environmentally friendly solutions proposed by each one of the architects. They are equipped with sensors to measure temperature, humidity and air circulation.[8]
  • The device for each of the dwellings is also equipped by people presence sensors.[9]

All the works met the required common constructive characteristics:

 

  • Standard 500 m2 plots with a maximum built-up surface of 120 m2.
  • 3-4 rooms and standing no more than two store high.
  • Cost of construction per m2 should not exceed 1000 ECU.

Passive Solar Cooling and Heating[9]

  • The house would be isolated to prevent losses.
  • To reduce noises from outside, double glasses in the windows would be used (the reduction of heat losses is about 50%)
  • A system to keep windows and door perfectly shut as it supposes 40% of change in gain/losses.
  • Bio-climatic dwellings were designed to save about 70% of heating/cooling costs, producing an additional cost which not exceed 20% in extreme cases.
  • Natural lighting is provided directly to inner spaces or adjacent to the house exterior.
  • Advanced windows, light shelves, skylights, roof monitors and side lighting would also reduce lighting costs.

Materials and Appliances[9]

  • The materials used are recycle (in the maximum way possible), depend on the weather with thermal inertia.
  • The appliances have been fitted to the needs of the residents (capacity, power) and have the “Ecological Label” of the European Community.
  • Utilization of appliances with low energy consume.

Electric Generation[9]

  • Each house is equipped with 2 kW of PV panels based on high efficiency solar cells ( BP Saturno).
  • The PV installation would be integrated in the very structure of each dwelling (unframed panels) for a minimum visual impact and would work at direct current regime at high voltage.
  • PV system for the electric supply of its own installations and also the common facilities for water treatment.
  • Four of the houses utilize an extra small wind turbine with powers ranging 600 – 5000 W based on different technologies.
  • The whole amount of energy produced by the 25 dwellings would be injected to electric grid and double register systems (consumption/contribution to grid) would be installed to check the expected zero average net consumption.

Water Supply[9]

  • A desalination plant based on reverse osmosis and a purifying system would be supplied for the village.
  • The water obtained from the sea will be treated in the desalination plant to produce fresh water; it will supply the houses with the first pipe network.
  • The sewage originated in the building will be sent to the Visitors Centre by second network, where it will be treated in a sewage farm.
  • The third network will supply purified water for irrigation.

The residential complex (Figure 2) was conceived as laboratory,[8] it was a strong limit to experimentation and research about materials, design and renewable energy implementation solutions.[9] Now the complex is ready to be inhabited by normal people to carry out their normal everyday activities; although the homes will only be rented out for short periods of time.[8]