We activate pumping capacity at the Valparaíso hydroelectric power plant in Zamora
- The company's technical excellence has succeeded in adding 30 MW to the pumped storage capacity in Spain, which is so necessary for the optimal management of renewable production.
- Unit 1 of the power plant has been pumping since 20 May and work is underway to activate pumping in unit 2, which will add a total of 60 MW of pumping capacity in the Tera River.
- The activation of the pumping capacity of a reversible power plant is a milestone on the road to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future where "hydroelectric batteries" are a fundamental pillar
Iberdrola España has activated the full operation of the pumping capacity of one of the reversible units of the Valparaíso hydroelectric power plant in Zamora thanks to the outstanding work of its technical team.
The company's technical excellence has succeeded in adding 30 megawatts (MW) to the pumped storage capacity in Spain, which is so necessary for the optimal management of renewable production.
Unit 1 of the plant has been pumping since 20 May and work is underway to activate pumping in unit 2, which will add a total of 60 megawatts (MW) of pumping capacity on the river Tera.
The Valparaíso hydroelectric power station is located on the river Tera, a tributary of the Esla, in the Duero basin, in the municipalities of Mombuey and Villardeciervos. It has two vertical axis reversible units with a speed of 187.5 rpm. In pumping, the power absorbed is 30 megawatts (MW) for a discharge head of 49 m and a flow of 55.7 m3/s per unit.
The ability of a reversible pumped-storage power plant to store and release large amounts of energy quickly is critical to balancing the electricity grid. The power plant acts as a "giant battery" storing potential energy in the form of water in the upper reservoir.
Pumping makes it possible to shape the demand curve by increasing consumption at off-peak hours, providing available power at peak hours and reducing the ramp-up at the off-peak-peak transition.
Today, energy storage through pumping has become essential for managing renewable production, and thanks to Iberdrola's knowledge of the equipment, it has been possible to propose projects that take advantage of this technology.
The Valparaíso hydroelectric power plant was designed to operate in reversible mode, but when pump mode start-up tests were carried out in 1995, technical complications arose that limited the implementation of this mode of operation.
Once the opportunity to re-establish the pumping system at this Zamora plant was detected, Iberdrola España carried out various hydroelectric studies - fluid dynamic simulations and field tests - necessary to define a new control strategy for the pump mode start-up sequence.
Pumping allows modelling of the demand curve by increasing consumption at off-peak hours, providing available power at peak hours and reducing the ramp-up at the off-peak/peak transition.
Schematic section of the CH Valparaíso
After successfully carrying out the last pumping tests with different levels in the lower reservoir, the Valparaíso power plant can finally operate in pump mode, as originally planned.
The company also continues to work to activate the pump mode operation of unit 2. A total of 60 megawatts (MW) of combined pumping power will be activated between the two reversible turbines of the Valparaíso hydroelectric plant.
Although hydro technology is considered mature, there is still room for innovation. Thus, Iberdrola's technical team continues to face technological challenges that seemed insurmountable decades ago.
The activation of the pumping capacity of a reversible power plant is a milestone on the road to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future where "hydropower batteries" are a key pillar.
Hydroelectric pumping, the most efficient alternative for energy storage
Iberdrola España is a benchmark in this power generation technology.
Efficient management of water resources has become essential for the health of the planet. Iberdrola España strives to make rational and sustainable use of water and to address the risks related to its scarcity. To achieve this, the company seeks the most appropriate method to prevent damage and implements various measures aimed at a more sustainable use of water.
Pumped hydro technology is currently the most efficient system for large-scale energy storage. It is more cost-effective and brings stability, security and sustainability to the electricity system by generating large amounts of energy with a very fast response time and without creating any emissions into the atmosphere.
Iberdrola España is a leader in energy storage with a capacity of 4,473 megawatts (MW) installed using pumped storage technology, the most efficient method of energy storage today, as it does not generate any type of polluting emissions into the atmosphere and has a performance far superior to the best batteries on the market.
The company maintains its firm footing in the renewable energy sector by leading the construction of one of the largest hydroelectric projects carried out in Europe in the last 25 years. The Támega hydroelectric complex (Portugal), with a capacity of 1,158 MW, the system is capable of storing 40 million kWh, equivalent to the energy consumed by 11 million people during 24 hours in their homes, making it one of the largest energy storage systems in Europe.
The complex is made up of three power plants - Alto Tâmega, Daivões and Gouvães - and, thanks to its pumping capacity, can store energy to be used when it is most needed. All in all, a cycle of energy efficiency and true circular economy that will increase the total installed electrical power in Portugal and avoid the emission of 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year - without quantifying many millions more thanks to the renewable energy it will be able to integrate into the system - helping to fight against climate change.
To highlight the Cortes-La Muela hydroelectric complex in Spain, located in the municipality of Cortes de Pallás (Valencia), in the Júcar river basin, which has a turbination capacity of 1,762 MW and 1,293 MW of pumping capacity. With a total investment of more than €1.2 billion, this Iberdrola España complex became the largest pumped hydroelectric plant in Europe.
With what the Cortes-La Muela power plantExternal link, opens in new window. produces, for one year, the upper reservoir becomes a gigabattery that is capable of supplying the annual electricity demand of almost 400,000 homes, in turn avoiding the annual emission of more than two million tonnes of CO2.
Clean, non-polluting energy that contributes to decarbonising the planet
In the post-Covid situation, the need to continue working towards the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals External link, opens in new window. (SDGs) has become even more evident. In this context, the water sector becomes a key element to ensure green reconstruction due to its interconnections with elements such as health, environment, food and energy.
Thus, hydroelectric power plants are a fundamental tool in the management of the energy system of the future and for the integration of renewables. It is the technology that provides the most flexibility to the system, essential for the Energy Transition and the migration towards a 100% decarbonised system.
Iberdrola's commitment to hydroelectric technology is an indisputable part of its history, dating back to the very origins of the company. With more than 14,000 MW of installed capacity worldwide, the group is committed to this type of power plant, which is essential for the energy transition, and remains a leader in energy storage.