ESLA RIVER BASIN: OUR HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANTS
Ricobayo, a key dam on the Esla, part of Spain's largest hydroelectric complex
Iberdrola España has a presence in two hydroelectric plants and two mini-hydroelectric plants in the basin of the river Esla, the largest tributary of the Duero. The prominent Ricobayo hydro complex, together with the smaller Santa Eulalia and El Hoyo plants, have a combined installed capacity of more than 340 MW. They all form part of the Duero System: the largest hydroelectric complex in Spain.
Ricobayo hydroelectric plant (Zamora)
The Esla is one of the most important rivers in northwest Spain. It rises in the Cantabrian Mountain Range, crosses the provinces of León and Zamora from north to south, flows into the Duero river - being its largest tributary, carrying more water than the Duero itself at its mouth -, has a length of 286 km and drains a catchment area of 16,163 km². Iberdrola España uses this water resource through the reservoirs of the Esla, its dams and power stations, distributed along the course of the river through Zamora. The Ricobayo hydroelectric complex is the most important, as well as the oldest, and we also have the Santa Eulalia and El Hoyo mini-power stations, with a combined installed capacity of more than 340 MW. The energy generated by this set of infrastructures directly benefits approximately 238,000 homes in Spain.
The great water potential of the river Esla makes it an ideal scenario for the creation of reservoirs and waterfalls and dams, which help to regulate the flow and optimise the uses of water, including its use for the generation of hydroelectric energy: cheap, clean and renewable. Iberdrola is present at the Ricobayo reservoir.
The Ricobayo Reservoir is located on the lower course of the Esla, near the Zamora town of Ricobayo de Alba, in the municipality of Muelas del Pan. This reservoir, whose construction began in 1929 and was completed in 1933, is considered one of the largest in Europe with a total capacity of 1,145 hm³ of water and a surface area of 5,725 hectares (ha), according to data obtained from Embalses.net External link, opens in new window..
The reservoir supplies the local population and is used for recreational activities such as sailing, fishing and bathing. In addition, Ricobayo has an impressive gravity dam, with a height of almost 100 metres, one of the most impressive engineering works of its kind to be seen in Europe.
Hydroelectric Power Plants in the Esla River Basin
Iberdrola España has a presence in four hydroelectric plants located in the Esla basin, taking advantage of the waterfalls of the Ricobayo, Santa Eulalia and El Hoyo dams. Our commitment to sustainability and the promotion of renewable energies is reflected in this commitment to hydroelectric generation on the Esla River as it flows through Zamora: a clean, renewable and environmentally safe source, with which we contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and compliance with the energy transition objectives.
The construction, management and maintenance of the Ricobayo I, Ricobayo II, Santa Eulalia and El Hoyo power plants have a major positive impact on the area: generating local jobs, stimulating the economy, strengthening infrastructure and promoting sustainable development in the community.
Ricobayo I and Ricobayo II
With almost a century of history, the Ricobayo complex consists of two hydroelectric power stations: one at the foot of the dam, Ricobayo I, with a waterfall of 83 metres, and one underground, Ricobayo II, with a waterfall of 75 metres. Commissioned in 1935 and 1999, respectively, both plants were pioneers in electricity production in Europe and form part of the hydroelectric system known as Saltos del Duero, the largest Spanish hydroelectric complex.
The installed capacity at Ricobayo I is 174 MW and at Ricobayo II 153 MW, giving a total installed capacity of 327 MW.
The Santa Eulalia gravity dam, located in Santa Eulalia de Tábara, at the tail of the Ricobayo reservoir, has an 8.3-metre waterfall and an external mini-hydroelectric power station of the same name, which has been in service since 2005. The installed capacity of the Santa Eulalia plant is almost 10 MW.
The El Hoyo dam, a masonry dam with a height of almost 4 metres, located in the municipality of Breto in the province of Zamora, has had an external mini-hydroelectric power station of the same name in operation since 1995. The installed capacity of the El Hoyo plant is almost 4 MW.
IBERDROLA SPAIN'S HYDROELECTRIC PLANTS IN OTHER BASINS