Canary Islands Biosphere Reserves Increase Energy and Water Efficiency
9 July 2012: The UN Educational, Scientific and Educational Organization (UNESCO) has reported on projects carried out in the Canary Islands that aim to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce water stress. The activities are taking place in sites that are part of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (UNESCO-MAB).
According to UNESCO, the island of El Hierro will be the first electricity-sufficient island territory in the world by the end of 2012, through a hydro-wind project. In addition, El Hierro biosphere reserve aims to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions further with a Sustainable Mobility Plan (PDMS), which will combine public transportation alternatives and innovative solutions.
UNESCO also reports that La Palma Biosphere Reserve is using intelligent lighting systems that are energy efficient and minimize light pollution. The reserve in the island of Fuerteventura is implementing a Renewable Water project that links the water cycle with the production of biofuels: a wind farm is associated to a water desalination plant; and the University of La Laguna is developing a biofuel production project using jatropha curas seeds. UNESCO notes that this crop's ability to fix soil against erosion also contributes to fight against desertification.
These projects are part of the strategy of energy sustainability and promotion of sustainable economies fostered by the Canary Islands Government with the support of, inter alia, the UNESCO Centre of the Canary Islands. UNESCO-MAB aims to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science. [UNESCO Press Release]