Beatriz Rodrigues Jardim, the Head of Quality, Environment and Safety at EEM, a publically owned utility company on the archipelago, explains
As Europe steers towards its climate objectives how will remote island communities transition from fossil fuels to greener alternatives? Madeira has the answer and is fast becoming a benchmark for generating renewable energy.
Thanks to a centuries-old water transportation system, authorities in the regions have been channelling water from the humid north to the drier south for generations. A project co-funded by the European Cohesion Policy has availed of these ancient tunnels to transport water to the Socorridos hydroelectric power station which provides the entire island with power and electricity all year round.
But what role will renewable energies in Madeira play in the context of climate change? Beatriz Rodrigues Jardim, the Head of Quality, Environment and Safety at the Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (EEM), a regional utility company, explains.
“We have to have more accumulation basins, basically, because we tend to have less hydroelectric power and we will have to draw upon other renewable energy sources, namely wind power. In terms of what has been projected for the next 70 or 80 years, regarding climate change, wind will not undergo any significant change.
“In terms of rainfall, we expect it will decrease by 30% and we will also have to rely on photovoltaic technologies. Therefore we will store as much water as possible to supply the population. When it comes to water usage, the population is the top priority, the second is agriculture and the third, is energy production. And… we live, let’s say, on a very small island and we are very, very aware that the use should be very efficient”.