29 | 04 | 2017


Greening the Canary Islands (and beyond): the role of the institute of technology

This week, the Greening the Islands conference travels to the Canary Islands for its 3rd edition and the second day of proceedings will take place at an important location for the promotion of renewable energy technologies in island locations – the Canary Islands Institute of Technology (ITC).

The activities of the ITC are framed in the fields of research, development and innovation at a regional level and the nearest African countries, aiming at fostering technological advancement to improve the quality of life.

The ITC operates as a technology centre for the Canary Islands Regional Government, carrying out applied research activities in technological fields where the archipelago offers competitive advantages with respect to other regions in Europe, as well as in areas necessary to foster innovation in local businesses. The ITC is active in renewable energy, water, biotechnology, environmental technologies, and biomedical, mechanical and software engineering.

The Greening the Islands conference programme involves a tour of the main ITC facility at Pozo Izquierdo in the southeast of Gran Canaria Island on a site with excellent renewable energy conditions:

  • Annual mean wind speed 7.8 m/s, with wind energy potential of m
    ore than 4,000 equiv. hours/year
  • Solar irradiation on a horizontal surface: 5.7 kWh/m²; day Sun Hours: 3,000 h/year.

imagen-116ITC´s Renewable Energy Department works to maximize the penetration of renewable energy sources (RES) in insular systems. Its vision is that the Canary Archipelago presents a laboratory for testing and demonstrating new energy technologies in real conditions, as well as their commercial implementation. These new technologies include energy storage (particularly for excess RES that cannot be absorbed by the grids), development of 100% energy self- sufficiency models (with exclusive use of RES) and micro-/minigrids with high RES penetration and RES forecasting, including advanced ICTs and sustainable mobility concepts (e.g. V2G technologies). Given the high conventional generation costs and relatively low RES costs (wind electricity production cost is less than 0.03 €/kWh), the Canary Islands could in the short term achieve grid parity, and in this sense pioneer the change to a RES based energy system. Models tested on the islands could be exported or extrapolated to other islands, regions of developing countries and even other regions in continental Europe.

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