New wind power technology developed by Spain and Greece could resolve southern Europe's growing thirst for fresh water supplies in the face of years of drought. Wind power has long been touted as the ideal solution for desalination plants in inaccessible coastal areas, but erratic supply is found to wreck the delicate filters used to convert salt water into fresh water. The new system being developed by the Tenerife-based Technological Institute for Renewable Energy (ITER), the universities of Las Palmas and Athens and energy companies in Germany, reduces the need for a constant power supply by dividing up the desalination plant into separate units which are activated step by step depending on energy supply. The turbines will be programmed to produce more energy than required to power the desalination plants with the excess being stored for use when wind fails. Currently 35% of the Canary Island's oil-fired power is used for desalination plants which process all but 30% of the island's fresh water needs.
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