I live next to this island, and the project is quite famous. As it is not possible to rely on wind all the time, that is why there is an hydro project, with the use of wind as a source of energy to pump the water back up to be used again.
2 reservoirs of water, a wind farm, a hydroelectric plant, and a pumping station.
A good map with the reservoirs and pics:
Site of the project developer:
I am curious to know if you guys had heard about it from "over-sea"...
First post here...been lurking long enough.
I wanted to just comment on this thread, and this concept. That is the concept of using the potential energy of a volume of water at altitude as a battery, charging (pumping water in) when other when wind is peaking, and using Hydro for on demand electricity generation. There have been a few threads here that refer to this concept, though it seems that most everyone agrees its not really worth doing due to energy loss through conversion. Seeing it done here on a very large scale gives me some hope that maybe in some circumstances it could be scaled down efficiently enough to be of merit.
I've been interested in this idea for admittedly, only the past couple of days since it came to my mind, but have been unable to shake it. How great would it be to be able to remove batteries from the equation in small off grid set-ups? In theory, and as mentioned in some other hydro threads one could apply a bit of lo-fi control technology to turn on power when required, and step it up and down as necessary by increasing/decreasing flow to turbines to suit your needs, right? Of course the trouble always comes when using mechanical energy from wind, or as another poster suggests, a slow moving water wheel and some sort of ram pump to get the water where you want it, until you need it...or perhaps even less efficiently convert sun/wind energy to electricity to pump water up a to your reservoir. Admittedly the latter would probably require some kind of battery bank in order to control the supply to your pumps and thus negate MY stated purpose here (eliminating batteries).
Maybe its pie in the sky and its just not nearly efficient enough to be worth it while batteries are as accessible as they are, but the elimination of the dirty battery is a thing that I would like to strive toward...also the simplicity of it could make it a very elegant solution. I suppose that no matter what it will always come down to demand, and the amount of storage available.
The reason I am so interested in this idea is because I'm currently looking at purchasing some property in a part of the world with between 45 and 55 inches of annual rainfall, that has a possibility of over 100 meters of head pretty much vertically...its a cliff face for much of the drop. The building site on this property would be at the top of the cliff..somewhere near 120m above the bottom of the property where there lies a very wide river, wetlands, and beyond a lake. The run of pipe to achieve 120 meters of head would probably be about 150 metres-ish. There is quite a bit of seasonal runoff (45-55" of rain ain't bad right?) that flows down the cliff and if this could be captured in a shaded head pond there's certainly a start, but now how about adding some wind turbines on that breezy unobstructed elevation to mechanically pump some river water back up in the windy times. Save it til you need it.
Is it really wasting so much energy so as to make it not useful at all?
In El Hierro, cost amounts to 64.7 million euros...
and the population is not much over 10.000 persons + tourists.
I am not good at telling 64.7 million with only numbers, so how many 000000 and how much per person is this? 4
Is it 64.700.000?
This would be 6470€ per person...
I was also dreaming if this would be possible at small scale with my 20m cliff and my water tank...
Have you seen the topic that is exactly about batteries?
That is interesting to know when they are necessary and the over-pricing of a bigger station for producing the necessary energy all at once.
Nice to see here some curiosity about this big project, did you know about it before?
I wonder if it is worth it or if it is financed for the experiment...
I can see there, at a big and collective size, the tempting dream we individually have!
Some people would rather eat a bug than have a battery, but others like having some power stored up so that lights don't go out when the valve gets turned off. No accounting for taste, I guess.
Pumped storage of water is possible (I do have a case study in the Serious Microhydro anthology) but it's really expensive and doesn't produce a lot of power for the amount of power you put into it.
It sounds to me that your site has lots of potential, even without wind or solar. Cliffs are hard to plumb, but probably you could drop a 2 inch pipe down it successfully. Secure it well, for water is heavy.
A battery inverter subsystem makes much from little. By storing up energy till its needed, and by providing large peak currents, the battery inverter subsystem imitates the most common pattern of use. The average amount of power used can be pretty small, a couple of hundred watts, compared to the maximum requirements.
I could offer more specific advice about your situation with more data, but really, you have lots of potential without wind generators or pumped storage. There are many similar case studies in Serious Microhydro that sound like your site...
Thanks Scott. I have got to get myself a copy of Serious MicroHydro! I've always been interested MH..as long as I can remember I've felt it the most obvious, lo-tech solution to going off grid...if the site can provide the goods of course. Fastening the 2" would be difficult - but that was my thought. The cliff is not sheer across the whole property so there are options as to the exact run of the pipe..but either way it would not be easy to install..or maintain likely.
I have no doubts that in the end I will go with batteries, but exploring the possibilities of moving away from batteries is pretty interesting and the large scale example in this thread is very.. very interesting to see.
Xisca: for the record the site is located in eastern canada.
It seems that the extra energy is not put in stock but readily used + the 2nd source of energy to pump back and be sure to keep the source of energy.
Also, this hydro plant is located in a very DRY place!!!
And it will also be used to desalt water I think. Some Canary islands already desalt seawater.
“The project is aimed at the design, development, construction commissioning of a hydro-wind system able to cover the electrical demand of the island of El Hierro, making this island a territory that is self-supplied in terms of electricity, strictly through renewable energies.”
But the system developed by Gorona del Viento is not meeting its aims. I’ll explain why and what changes are required to the system to get it to work as intended.
Assuming El Hierro peak demand is 7.6MW
Put the 7.6MW peak demand into my recommendation equations
store energy = 1.11 days x 7.6MW = 8.436 MW-days = 202.5 MWh = 729 gigajoules
Assuming the head between the 2 reservoirs to be 655 metres, the volume of reservoir required is
volume = mass / density
volume = energy / (g x head x density)
volume = 729,000,000,000 / (9.81 x 655 x 1000)
volume = 113,500 m3
So the GdV reservoirs seem to be big enough and no change to the reservoirs is required.
Now let’s find the recommended annual maximum wind power.
annual maximum wind power = 5.5 x 7.6MW = 41.8MW
Whereas only 11.5 MW of wind turbine nameplate capacity is installed.
I’m not sure what the annual peak wind power is now (8MW is the maximum MW plotted in figure 4 here) so let’s assume that 8MW is the annual peak wind power now.
Now – needed — factor increase compared to existing
8MW – 41.8MW – 41.8/8 = 5.2 times more wind power needs to be installed, to a total nameplate capacity of 5.2 x 11.5 = 59.8MW
The El Hierro GdV wind turbines are under-powered by a factor of 5 compared to what will be needed for a successful system design to achieve 24/7/52 100% renewable on demand power.
The recommendation is that additional wind turbines be installed to a total capacity of 60MW.
From a comment on the post Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power on the Scottish Scientist blog
Are you calculating as if all of the power is supplied to users from pumped storage, or do you account for some percentage to be directly supplied from the wind turbines?
Glenn Herbert wrote:Assuming your calculations are correct, what could have caused the developers to so massively underestimate the necessary amount of wind power?
Matching the appropriate amount of wind turbine power with the appropriate amount of pumped-storage to provide on-demand power was innovative engineering for which there was no existing example for the developers to copy, to reverse engineer, to adapt.
The developers were attempting something new, or at least for which there was no engineers' handbook available.
It really required prior computer modelling (or alternatively physical modelling, as they used to do in the days before computers) to confirm that the system design would work, before building it full scale, but the developers either neglected to model it at all, or they made some errors in their modelling.
If the developers had hired the right person to model their proposed design then such errors might have been avoided but they didn't hire the right person.
Glenn Herbert wrote:Are you calculating as if all of the power is supplied to users from pumped storage, or do you account for some percentage to be directly supplied from the wind turbines?
Users get supplied directly from the wind turbines and if they need more, they get the balance from the hydro-powered turbines.
Perhaps you can follow this?
Line graph of power grid and energy store timeline – June, Scotland
Renewables-only Electricity Generation. Wind turbines and pumped-storage hydro. Case study - Scotland.
Power grid & energy storage modelling time line - June. Annual maxima = Peak Demand 6GW. Installed Wind 33GW. Pumped-storage 160GWh.
So at a time when the demand for power (red line) is higher than the wind power available (grey line), the hydro turbines generate power (green line) to provide the balance of power required to meet demand in full.
Exactly what the real case would be, I just didn't see it mentioned in your calculations. I know from experience that it's hard to mention all relevant factors when giving a succinct description of a system.
It's very nice to see a detailed graph like this, giving the observant but not technically educated a good feel for the scale and variables of the system.
Steve Farmer wrote:The diesel power plant provides the power for pumping the water uphill and then the hydro turbines supply the consumers with their grid power. I'm struggling to see how this benefits anybody except the people who got paid to do it?
Glenn Herbert wrote:Where does the diesel power plant come in? The idea was to use the surplus electricity produced by the wind turbines to pump water uphill.
The aim of the project was to do away with using diesel to generate electricity but like I said, the system is not meeting its aims, because they've not been able to replace diesel generation, for the reasons I explained - they have not designed the system with enough wind power - too few wind turbines - (or other renewable generators such as solar). The renewable generator system is under-powered, by a factor of 5.
It's like they took the V8 engine out of a Hummer and replaced it with a V-twin motorcycle engine and were surprised when it didn't go as fast.
Islands Trying To Use 100% Green Energy Failed, Went Back To Diesel
El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands off North Africa’s coast, replaced its diesel power plant with a hybrid wind power and pumped hydro storage system worth $94 million.
El Hierro was supposed to be the poster child for 100 percent green energy. The island, located in the Spanish Canary Islands, replaced its diesel power plant with a hybrid wind power and pumped hydro storage system worth $94 million in 2014. The system has only been active since June of 2015.
The expensive system, however, provided an unpredictable amount of power and couldn’t even electrify the entire island. For example, during the high-wind period in the summer of 2015 the island got 51.7 percent of its power from the system, but a low-wind period in December saw the system generate a mere 18.5 percent of the island’s electricity. The sheer unpredictability of the system damages the island’s electrical grid and forces the island to rely on the diesel power it was supposed to replace.
The IER analysis estimates that it would take 84 years for El Hierro’s wind and hydropower system to simply payback its capital costs.
Also should mention that the water being used by the hydro is fresh water generated from a diesel powered desalination plant. It's a hot windy place and the evaporation is high.
My panels ae epoxy coated with no edge frames, these still get hot and dirty but are easier to clean than the bog standard ones.
I live in the west of La Palma, having less tan the CALIMA saharian wind that Steve mentions.
I live in Garafía, which is powered by wind energy from mills in the north.
Near me live people who are still not connected to the grid, though it is coming after 10 years of negotiations, and months of work....
10 yeara ago, they all, in this place, wanted to connect to the grid, and now only a few of them are going to join.
They have invested in better pannels, so they prefer to keep them now!
In Spain, if you were connected to the grid and go off grid, then you have to pay a tax!
Most people also rely on the wind, there are almost always los alisios, a north east wind.
Solar pannels are also sensitive to the wind, and we have occasional storms here.
Calima dust is not so much a problema at my place, the furthest from the Sahara.