El Hierro, one of the smallest of Spain's Canary Islands, is to receive 100 percent of its electricity supply from renewable energy sources, the Madrid government said Tuesday.
As part of a plan through to 2009, El Hierro will soon be able to rely on a combination of hydroelectricity and wind power to generate its electricity, the industry ministry said.
"El Hierro will be the first island in the world totally supplied by renewable energy," the ministry said, without specifying when the scheme would actually be up and running.
The island will rely on a system involving two reservoirs to power hydroelectic stations, a wind farm and a pumping system.
"The bulk of the energy injected into the distribution network will emanate from the hydroelectric plant" with capacity of 10 megawatts, the ministry said.
The wind farm will generate electricity for the pumping station that will pump water to the two reservoirs that feed the hydroelectric stations, the ministry explained.
Excess wind energy will be used to power two desalination plants.
An existing diesel-powered plant on the island, population 10,500, will be maintained for emergencies if water and wind supplies run short.
"Using this system, we can transform a intermittent energy source into a controlled and constant supply of electricity," the ministry said of the 54.3 million euro (65 million dollar) scheme which is designed to cut the island's annual carbon dioxide emissions by 18,700 tonnes.
Interior Minister Joan Clos Tuesday said the government would be adopting a range of incentive measures to encourage windfarms.
Spain, where the energy market was deregulated in 1998, is second only to Germany in Europe in terms of installed wind power capacity, at 8,155 MW in December 2004, compared with 14,000 MW for Germany.