RegGuheert wrote:The bottom line: El Hierro island was touted as going 100% renewable by many pundits, but they have managed to only achieve a renewable fraction just over 30%. It appears that the island ran entirely off renewable energy for about 2 hours in 2015.
Note that several different operational modes are apparent in the data. Hydro has been used as load following at times, and diesel has been used as load following at times. Practice often finds flaws that theory didn't expect. This is a large scale experiment, data collection under different conditions is probably the most important goal at the start, and not maximizing the renewable fraction from day one. I wouldn't draw any firm conclusions without a year of data in the final operational mode.
100% wasn't a realistic goal for this project, and I don't think that was promised by the people designing and building the project. For example:
http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/print/volume-20/issue-5/articles/pumped-storage/creating-a-hybrid-hydro-wind-system-on.html wrote:Realistically, however, about 65% of island's total annual energy demand will be covered by the hybrid hydro-wind plant.
It is very hard to get to 100% with a source that varies as much as wind power does.
Judging the success or failure of the project on something that was not a realistic goal isn't helpful.
RegGuheert wrote:It's easy for commenters to walk in and state their opinion that it is cheap and easy to convert the world to 100% renewable energy. In reality, it is both difficult AND expensive, both in terms of cost and the damage done to the environment.
Every choice has a cost, and risks. Failure to acknowledge the risks and costs of fossil fuel may well be fatal to civilization.