The President of the Canary Islands Government, Ángel Víctor Torres, visited the facilities of the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), where a project is being developed to produce hydrogen from offshore wind energy, “which will place the Canary Islands at the forefront of research into marine renewable energies”.
Accompanied by the Regional Minister of Economy, Knowledge and Employment, Elena Máñez, and the Director of the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and the Information Society (ACIISI), Carlos Navarro, the President toured the PLOCAN headquarters with its director, José Joaquín Hernández, who presented the project for “smart management and use of marine renewable energies in island systems”.
The project is part of the National Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Plan, designed to develop strategic actions around hydrogen which, in coordination with other initiatives, will help transform the current energy paradigm and contribute to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Under one of the Complementary Plans promoted by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, PLOCAN will receive 6 million euros, of which the Canary Islands will contribute 2.15 million, to develop prototypes that will substantially reduce costs and pollution when producing and storing hydrogen, thanks to the use of offshore wind energy.
On this point, Ángel Víctor Torres stressed the importance of having facilities of this kind in the Canary Islands, “which is a real testing ground under natural conditions and will enable us to develop the first element for making the ecological transition that the Canary Islands need: knowledge”. The president then went on to point out that the Canary Islands Energy Transition Plan includes the commitment to achieve full energy decarbonisation by 2040, ten years before the deadline set by the Spanish state and the European Union. For Torres, this project, which will be developed with Next Generation funds, “will place the Canary Islands at the forefront of marine renewable energy research”.
The Regional Minister of Economy, Knowledge and Employment, Elena Máñez, explained that this project is in line with the planning efforts undertaken by the government through documents such as the Circular and Blue Economy strategies, which aim to diversify the islands’ industrial sectors and focus their labour market “so that young people have more training and employment opportunities in more sustainable sectors that will leave a less polluted archipelago for future generations”.
A project that, in addition, “will be fundamental to a profound transformation of the entire energy system of the islands, because, when renewable hydrogen is a mature technology, it will be used to power transport, hotels and all kinds of facilities, and we will already have skilled workers and companies to develop it”, according to the Minister.
Thus, thanks to its participation from the outset in the development of this pioneering technology, a vast horizon is already opening up in the Canary Islands for the creation of sustainable jobs, which will immediately materialise in a tangible project that will activate the development of new value chains and the decarbonisation of the islands, while at the same time providing new opportunities to diversify the economy.
The representatives of the regional government praised the decisive role played by PLOCAN in retaining and attracting technical and scientific talent in the marine environment which, as the president explained, “generates knowledge that has laid the foundations for a plethora of technological advances and for achieving projects of the magnitude of the one we are presenting today, which enables us to spearhead research into renewable hydrogen”.
The director of PLOCAN, José Joaquín Hernández, explained this morning how the major obstacle to obtaining hydrogen is that a large amount of energy is needed to break down a water molecule and store only a part of it, releasing the oxygen into the atmosphere. “Hence the great potential that we have and that makes us the ideal candidate for this project is all the progress we have made in recent years in the development of viable prototypes of offshore wind turbines, which we will now integrate into this research, to achieve almost no-cost hydrogen storage and, more importantly, with almost no pollution”.