THE ISLAND OF THE FOUR ELEMENTS
Since the time of the first Canarians, the inhabitants of Lanzarote have known how to take advantage of Mother Nature’s elements, collecting rainwater for drinking and irrigation, using the night time moisture and dew for growing crops, making use of the wind to mill grain and pump seawater up to the salt mines, allowing the sun and trade winds to produce the salt…
At the turn of the 21st century when economic, social and environmental issues started coming upon the island, Lanzarote and its people began advancing towards a transition in energy sources. Progress has been slow, only 5 % of the energy produced on the island is generated from renewable sources, 95% is still dependent on fossil fuels, but there are objectives and signs showing a move towards clean energy; such as the creation of a permanent commission of experts by the island government whose job is to analyze available resources, the technological evolution and policy changes.
The first goal, following the EU guidelines, is to reach a 20% renewable energy output on the island in 2020, through the enlargement of the Los Valles wind farm at the top of the island, the creation of three new wind farms in the center of the island, the installation of two new wind generators in order to supply a third of the island desalinization plant´s power demand and the construction of a voltaic energy plant in Arrecife.
A dream come true, according to a study carried out by an expert consulting agency, would be to reach a 75% output of renewable energy on the island by the year 2038. The island population could also help achieve this goal by producing their own energy and driving electric cars. A renewable energy information window for citizens and business owners has just been opened to the public at the Chamber of Commerce. The use of geothermal heat, beyond the roasting of chicken and potatoes at the Timanfaya National Park grill, is intended to be exploited. Currently the Gran Hotel and Club Nautico in Arrecife as well as three hotels in Puerto del Carmen are using this source to run their air conditioning and pool heating systems and works are to begin soon on the island government building in order to make it more sustainable.
Could this dream come true of turning Lanzarote into an energetically independent island like its little sister El Hierro?