Magazine article Newsweek

The Wind Turbines Saving the Galapagos Islands; as Tourism Thrives and Populations Grow on the Archipelago, Efforts Are Being Made to Meet Rising Energy Demands with Renewable Sources

Magazine article Newsweek

The Wind Turbines Saving the Galapagos Islands; as Tourism Thrives and Populations Grow on the Archipelago, Efforts Are Being Made to Meet Rising Energy Demands with Renewable Sources

Article excerpt

Byline: Christina Procopiou

Charles Darwin made the Galapagos Islands synonymous with the idea of change as a means of survival. In the 19th century, the scientist marveled at how similar endemic finches, mockingbirds and giant tortoises across the 19-island archipelago were uniquely adapted to individual islands and later theorized that this ability to adapt determines whether a species will survive long term. Today, one of the world's largest wind-diesel hybrid systems, built on San Cristobal Island, suggests the human population in the region is capable of the bold adaptive strategies it will need to survive in a post-climate change world.

Electricity demand on San Cristobal and the three other inhabited Galapagos islands is on the rise, driven by the growth of population (currently at 30,000 residents) and supported by thriving tourism. A plan to replace diesel electricity generation with renewable energy was already set in motion when, in January 2001, an oil tanker struck a reef and spilled more than 150,000 gallons of diesel near San Cristobal, threatening the irreplaceable plants, birds and marine life that had evolved there.

Ecuador, with the help of the United Nations, quickly enlisted the help of the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership, made up of 11 of the world's largest electricity companies, to reduce the risk of another oil spill at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between 2007 and 2015, three 157-foot wind turbines have supplied, on average, 30 percent of the electricity consumed on San Cristobal, replacing 2. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.