Porto Santo island features on BBC News as renewables pioneer

Posted: June 11, 2019 by oldbrew in Emissions, Energy, News, Travel
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Porto Santo airport

This tiny island near Madeira has an area of 16.28 square miles but gets a flying visit from the BBC’s leading climate alarm advocate Roger Harrabin, no doubt in a fuel-burning aeroplane or two. Has he checked his ‘carbon footprint’ lately? 😎
The idea was to give a plug (sorry) to an electric car experiment, but with such a tiny surface area it all looked like much ado about next to nothing. Not exactly a gamechanger, but he’s probably boosted their tourism – meaning more of those naughty flights.

Surprised this morning to find that the island of Porto Santo was featuring on BBC Breakfast, where it was described as “aspiring to become the first energy independent island by eliminating the use of fossil fuels altogether”, reports Madeira Island News.

The report started by showing diesel generators fuelling pollution, and moved on the detail the efforts being made to use reversible car batteries to recharge the electric grid.

The initiative, run by Renault and Empresa de Electricitade da Madeira (EEM) has actually been running for some time, and involves electric vehicles, second-life battery storage units, smart charging and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging to boost the island’s energy independence and stimulate the production of renewable energy. The blog first featured the story in June 2018.

The Mobility House, according to their own press release, is a leading energy service provider, which as a partner of Renault implements its technology to integrate electric vehicles and small energy storage units into EEM’s power grid.

By using intelligent aggregation software, The Mobility House controls unidirectional and bidirectional Renault vehicles and supports the energy supplier in operating the local power grid more efficiently.

Through bidirectional charging, electric vehicles can be used to temporarily buffer energy and transfer it back to the power grid during peak hours. Thereby, imbalances between power supply and demand can be balanced even more flexibly and additionally control the power quality.

Full report here.

  1. Stephen Richards says:

    What a great idea. Get up in the morning for work and you have drained your car battery charging other people’s cars. It’s a perpetual motion machine at last. Infinite energy, wow

  2. A C Osborn says:

    Well it doesn’t appear to actually working as they said “The BBC featured a police vehicle that was part of the scheme, but added the caveat that half the cars on the island would have to be electric for it to work.”.
    But failed to mention how many cars there were in total and how many were EVs.

  3. ivan says:

    A lot of hype but very few facts. On digging around I discovered that Renault has supplied 20 electric cars, don’t know if those using them had to pay for them, and a number of end of life electric car batteries that are supposedly charged from the ‘renewable’ power sources but failed to say how reliable those were.

    The island has a population of about 5,500 so I doubt that they will be decommissioning their diesel gensets any time soon (I couldn’t find any data on the total energy needed to keep the lights on and what the mix of reliable and unreliable power generation is).

    One thing I do have to congratulate Renault marketing on their brilliant marketing of the old worn out car batteries as storage (get paid twice for the same article) as well as the invaluable corporate virtue signalling for the project.

  4. The BBC expensively scraping the bottom of the barrel. I don’t think anyone of any intelligence would fancy a flat battery in the morning.

  5. stewgreen says:

    Ah the guys on BishopHill were talking about it being the entire of Madeira
    .. whereas its actually just Porto Santo
    a tiny small island which is like a couple of beach resorts.
    I never thought to go there from Madeira cos it’s too small and costly.
    I think I met some people who’ve been there, but there’s not much to do.
    Population : 5,483

    So a remote island where there are 12 flights every day
    just 6 buses and another 2 hour tourbus
    is supposed to be green.

    So the typical tourist flies in and then out after 2 days
    and says “Look at me I’ve been to “Green Electric Car” island

    Having said that, it is the correct way to do experiments
    Unlike the dumb UK which tries to implement mega projects like smart meters, EVs , self driving cars, Green energy on a grand scale straight away
    ..instead of doing a proper pilot study on a small island first.

  6. J Martin says:

    I don’t think the idea of cars powering the grid will work out quite as well as they might like, because there will be lots of people like me who will say no you can’t take power from my car, I don’t want it to be used like that. Who will pay me and how much will I be paid for the inconvenience of reduced range when I need it, and what about compensating me for the reduction in lifespan of my car batteries as they are extremely expensive to replace. I would seek to prevent my car being part of a grid, if I had an electric car.

  7. oldbrew says:

    From memory Renault sell the EVs but lease the batteries, so if they lose capacity due to high usage it’s Renault’s problem. Then again if everywhere’s within a few miles of the sea not much power is needed anyway.
    – – –
    The 2018 news story mentioned in the report above says:

    The Diario today reports that 20 electric cars are heading for Porto Santo, part of an initiative named “Electric Mobility Program” – developed between the Madeiran Electricity Company, EEM, and and French car-maker Renault. The scheme will be officially unveiled today and is part of a larger project called ‘Porto Santo Sustentável – Smart Fossil Free Island’.

    The aim of this project is to make the island a European territory without fossil fuels and near-zero emissions of carbon dioxide, in order to guarantee its environmental, social and economic sustainability in the medium and long term and, as well as providing a differentiating factor for the island as a tourist destination.

    The mayor of the island and local taxi drivers have been among the first to test the vehicles.

    So by being ‘carbon-free’ in future they hope more planes full of tourists will fly in? You can’t make this stuff up 😂

  8. Joe Public says:

    OB – “From memory Renault sell the EVs but lease the batteries, so if they lose capacity due to high usage it’s Renault’s problem.”

    Not much of a ‘problem’ when you’re screwing your customers for £59 – £99 per month:

    The cost of leasing the batteries for a Renault Zoe varies according to its mileage. A Zoe ZE40 doing 6000 miles a year costs £59 per month, while it’s £99 per month for a car doing 10,500 miles.


  9. oldbrew says:

    Thanks Joe. It’s like paying for fuel whether you go anywhere or not :/

  10. dennisambler says:

    They didn’t say where the initial charge comes from to fill these car batteries. I think the diesel generators will be around for a while yet.

  11. ivan says:

    dennisambler, if I am reading google earth correctly they have 3 windmills but just how much power they produce is unknown and I doubt that the airport would rely on such things.

    As I said in my first comment I can’t see them decommissioning their diesel gensets ant time soon. This whole thing is very little more than virtue signalling on the part of Renault and a few government officials.

  12. Dave Ward says:

    Paul Homewood has some details on the islands supply & demand: