Wind to Replace Fossil Fuel on Galapagos

An international group of energy companies known as e7 will install wind turbines on environmentally sensitive San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos Archipelago, replacing a substantial portion of the island’s electricity currently produced by large diesel-powered generators.

Columbus, Ohio – April 28, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] American Electric Power is leading the project team from the e7, chosen from the G7 nations that collectively promote sustainable energy development. AEP represents the United States in the e7. The e7 Fund for Sustainable Development signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Ecuador to undertake the wind generation project as part of United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Renewable Energy Program for the four inhabited islands in the archipelago. UNDP and the United Nations Foundation are supporting the project. Ecuador owns the Galapagos Islands. Other e7 companies on the project team include Electricite de France (France), Enel (Italy), Hydro-Quebec (Canada), Ontario Power Generation (Canada), RWE (Germany) and Scottish Power (United Kingdom). Current plans for the US$6 million project include construction of a wind park that will generate approximately 1,800 kW of electricity, displacing more than 50 percent of the electricity presently being produced by diesel-powered generators. Delivery of equipment to San Cristobal Island is expected to begin in 2004, with electricity production beginning in 2005. “This Galapagos wind project is a perfect example of what can be accomplished by combining the expertise and initiative of the energy leaders involved in the e7,” said E. Linn Draper Jr., e7 chairman and AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The wind farm will provide the residents of San Cristobal with affordable electricity from a renewable source while reducing the risks of oil spills associated with the transportation and delivery of fuel to the island. It also will reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions associated with the burning of fossil fuels. Most importantly, the wind farm will be built and operated in a way to protect the many unique animals and plants on San Cristobal Island.” In a complementary initiative, e7 companies AEP, Ontario Power Generation and Hydro-Quebec are funding the Galapagos Archipelago’s participation in the e7’s Micro-Solar Distance Learning Program, where solar panels, are installed in learning centers in remote villages to power advanced information and telecommunications technologies. e7 provides equipment installation and community training for satellite Internet connectivity powered by the solar panels. The initiative will greatly increase Internet access on the four inhabited islands and improve the ability to send and receive e-mail, data, voice and video. Installations will be made at locations such as schools, the offices of the local electric utility – Empresa Electrica Provincal Galapagos, and the Charles Darwin Research Station. The Darwin station, located on Santa Cruz Island, conducts research for Galapagos conservation. e7 will make this distance learning technology available free of charge to potential curriculum providers, such as the UNDP, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education, and the Darwin research station.
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