Solar Energy’s Potential To Power Island Tourism Explored At IRENA Conference

June 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Clean Power

Published on June 10th, 2014
by James Ayre


The great potential for solar energy, wind energy, water energy, and biomass with regard to powering island tourism was recently explored at a conference held by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Cypriot government.

Known as the Renewable Energy Applications for Island Tourism conference, the meeting put a lot of light on the potential utilization of solar PV for the emissions-free powering of island hotels and resorts.

100 kW dual-axis tracking solar PV project in King Island

Doesn’t really seem like such a perfect environment for the technology would need a push — conventional island energy costs tend to be quite high, sunshine is abundant in such vacation spots, etc — but solar PV hasn’t really taken off yet in that environment.

The event aimed to address this by showcasing a wide range of renewable energy applications and solutions for island nations and resort spots.

Special note was made of the fact that most hotels and resorts could greatly reduce their energy costs by incorporating solar PV into their power systems.

Then of course there are the environmental benefits — reduced pollution, cleaner air, cleaner water, etc. All are factors with significant upsides, but especially considering that the seemingly “pristine” nature of many resort spots is the main driver for tourists.

Possible energy storage solutions were also discussed — with all of the accompanying upsides and downsides to the different systems noted. The solution that seemed to have the most backing was pumped storage — whereby electricity is used during periods of low-demand to pump water upwards that can later be released downwards to generate electricity.

Considering how seemingly “perfect” the environment is for solar PV as well as other renewables in some places, hopefully we’ll see it utilized more in the coming years.

On that note, we recently covered one interesting case. El Hierro (in the Canary Islands) will soon be the first island in the world to be powered entirely by wind and water energy. While the island is only home to 10,000 or so people, that’s still an interesting accomplishment.

As we reported previously: “The island uses hydroelectric power during low-wind periods, and wind farms provide the power required to pump water back into the reservoir located in a volcanic crater 2,300 feet above sea level.”

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About the Author

James Ayre’s background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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  • This article should have contained at least the island’s electricity price to be at least mildly informative.

  • The Canaries are the Atlantic siblings of the Hawaiian chain: volcanoes generated by a deep hotspot in the Earth’s mantle. The tectonic plate on the surface moves slowly over it, generating a chain. They both have mountainous relief, enabling pumped storage.

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