Red Eléctrica is the sole transmission agent and operator of the national electricity System in Spain. The scope of work includes the design, supply, transport, and commissioning of the turbines, generators, main transformers and electrical balance-of-plant equipment. The project is expected to come online in 2027, with an energy storage capacity of 3.5 GWh.
The hydropower project will play a pivotal role in the energy transition for Gran Canaria. The six units, of 37 MW each, will help to stabilise the grid in Gran Canaria by acting as giant natural batteries. The water will be pumped from a lower reservoir to the upper reservoir in times of surplus energy. In times of demand, water from the upper reservoir is released, generating electricity as the water passes through the turbine, to deliver renewable energy when needed.
“Chira Soria is key to the Canary Islands' electricity system” said Juan Bola Merino, Non-peninsular Territories’ System Operation director, Red Eléctrica. “It has been designed with the highest environmental standards to guarantee its integration with the minimum visual impact, as 91 percent of the infrastructures are undergrounded. This project reinforces security and guarantees the electricity supply by increasing the power capacity in the system, key for an isolated system. It also boosts the integration of renewable energies into the system by using the surplus generation, thanks to its storage capacity.”
The project will pump water from the sea and desalinate it before it reaches the upper reservoir. Once completed, the power station will increase renewable energy production on the island by 37 percent, over the estimated energy that would be generated without the existence of this facility. It would also raise the average annual coverage of the demand using renewable generation to 51 percent, which at specific times may be much higher. This will lead to an additional reduction in annual CO2 emissions of 20 percent.
In addition, the power plant will improve the guaranteed supply for the island, by increasing the installed power capacity and strengthening the security of the electricity system. These elements are essential for an isolated electricity system, as is the case of the Canary Islands system. Likewise, the system is expected to help achieve savings in variable generation costs amounting to 122 million euros per year by reducing dependence of more expensive energy imports. The site will also help to deliver water leading the agriculture, cattle raising, firefighting, reforestation and help reduce desertification.
“As renewable energy generation from wind and solar is increasing in the Gran Canaria Island, this pumped storage project will help balance the grid by dispatching the energy when needed, still with renewable energy” added Pascal Radue, GE Hydro Solutions President & CEO. “Hydropower is the largest source of energy storage that exists right now and represents 95% of all energy stored today. Using water from the sea also demonstrates that with ingenuity, hydropower can reach new heights.”
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