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Ecuador — Galapagos San Cristóbal Island Wind Project

Wind and solar power
Key Objectives:
  • To replace diesel-based electricity generation with wind power as a clean energy source, effectively reducing fossil-fuel emissions
  • To reduce the risks of oil spills associated with transportation and delivery of fuel by decreasing the Galapagos’ dependence on the supply of diesel fuel for the generation of electricity
  • To contribute to the protection of bio-diversity
  • To provide valuable experience for the global promotion of small-scale, renewable energy power generation and distribution systems
  • To develop public awareness of effective demand-side management and energy conservation practices
  • To demonstrate how public-private partnerships can effectively contribute to the protection of endangered ecosystems and the reduction of greehouse gas emissions, while simultaneaously enhancing economic and social sustainable development

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San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Completed in 2007

Responding to the call for the introduction of renewable-based energy on the Galapagos Islands, the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP) developed and implemented Ecuador’s first large-scale wind project on the Island of San Cristóbal and one of the largest wind-diesel hybrid systems in the world. The 2.4 MW wind park features three wind turbines, each generating 800 kW to provide approximately one-third of the island’s annual electricity needs. The wind park is complemented by two 6 kW photovoltaic systems which have produced 136,000 kWh of electricity. The grid-connected system has been operated by EOLIC S.A., the Galapagos Wind Company, since 2007. 

The Partnership’s member companies provided management and technical expertise on a pro bono basis to support the development and management of the wind project. The project was innovatively financed by the Partnership, the United Nations Foundation (UNF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ecuadorian taxpayer donations and the Government of Ecuador. 

The Galapagos San Cristóbal Island Wind Project is registered under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The project received approximately 11,000 Certified and Verified Emission Reduction (CER) credits from the effective CO2 emissions reductions achieved by the substitution of diesel-powered generation.

Details of the project’s development and construction phases are available in these reports and accompanying video: 

Publication in English Video in English

Publication in Spanish

Video in Spanish


Full-length magazine articles on the project can be found in Power Magazine (featured on the cover of the December 2008 issue) and in IEEE Spectrum magazine (March 2008 issue), among others. Click here for a summary of the international media coverage following the launch of the Galapagos San Cristóbal wind park in February and March 2008.

The Galapagos San Cristóbal Island Wind Project won several awards including the National Energy Globe Award for Ecuador in 2009 and 2017, the World Energy Award for Best Practices in 2009, and was also named one of the top plants in 2008 by the Power Magazine.

In December 2013, we commemorated the sixth year of successful operation with a report celebrating the project’s highlights since its commissioning.  We commend ELECGALAPAGOS S.A., the local utility company in the Galapagos, and our partners for their great work.

Report in English Report in Spanish

The San Cristóbal Island Wind Project is a global model for what can be achieved by public-private partnerships to meet basic energy needs while protecting the environment. The project is based on a sustainable business model and has potential for wider application, especially in remote and small island settings.

In May 2015, GSEP conducted an assessment of the potential benefits of Volt/VAR optimization on San Cristóbal Island. To access the report, please click here.

In May 2016, GSEP published a report containing performance summary and expansion recommendations for the project. 

The report offers a four-step expansion plan which could help increase the penetration of renewables on the island to 70% within a reasonable investment range:
• Fully automate and overhaul the systems that control the diesel and wind generation
• Install more solar photovoltaic capacity
• Add a fourth wind turbine unit at the existing wind park at El Tropezón hill
• Add battery storage. The project currently has no storage.

Report in English Report in Spanish

Complementary to this report are the detailed findings of the GSEP’s power system analysis results and more information about the local utility’s initiatives to promote efficient energy use (detailed on pages 18-22 of the report, information about end-use efficiency programs in Spanish only).

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