El Hierro: the island where renewables are a treasure
In the Atlantic Ocean, more than 100 km off the shores of Morocco, there's an island that's unique in the world: El Hierro. This small plot of volcanic land covering 224 km2 - less than a third the size of New York City - ranges from the 1500-metre high Malpaso peak to the 300-metre deep sea beds of the La Restinga marine reserve.
El Hierro is the smallest and wildest island of the Canaries, declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. At night visitors enjoy the clearest sky in Europe. But this is not what makes the island unique.
"El Hierro is the first fully sustainable island in the world, made completely self-sufficient thanks to renewable energy"
Where the water meets the wind
It only takes just over one day to traverse the entire length and breadth of the island, a journey on which the traveller never loses sight of the Atlantic that surrounds the island and is accompanied by the wind that blows over its slopes.
The far northern town of Tamaduste is less than a nine-hour walk from the southern tip of La Restinga, where ferries from Tenerife dock.
Travellers who make this journey along the coast after less than two hours will reach the small port of Estaca, where there's an artificial lake. Looking inland, they will spot five wind turbines in the distance. These are a modest signal of the secret that makes El Hierro unique: the Gorona del Viento hydro/wind plant.