Iberdrola has numerous projects in mind in Spain and the Gigabatería de Tâmega (Portugal), one of the largest pumped hydraulic complexes in Europe, is the spearhead of a series of projects that the company intends to carry out in Spanish territory. For this to become a reality, it is necessary for the country to achieve regulatory stability and an adequate remuneration framework, something that the president of the energy company, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, already demanded in July during the inauguration of the plant.
The Spanish multinational has four large projects in its portfolio that would be similar to this electro-producer complex (inaugurated last July), and which, when the works are completed in 2024, will have an installed capacity of 1,158 MW, a production of 1,766 Gño and, apodráWh warehouses. 40 million kWh.
This facility, the largest clean energy project in the history of Portugal, is made up of three hydroelectric plants – Alto Tâmega, Daivões and Gouvães (the latter pumped) -, and has involved an investment of more than 1,500 million euros (650 of them financed by the European Investment Bank).
This system allows energy to be stored by pumping (it uses surplus energy to pump water to a higher reservoir for reuse) and will prevent the emission of 1.2 million tons of CO2 per year, according to company estimates.
The director of Hydroelectric Generation of Iberdrola, Enrique Sola, recorded, during a visit to the facilities, that the pumping does not depend on atmospheric conditions, has a greater storage capacity than other renewable sources and can start operating in minutes. He therefore provides “firmness” to the system at a time when it seeks to promote the energy transition and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
The need for “established” regulations is a claim by the president of the multinational, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, who, during the inauguration of the plant in July, praised “the legal stability and good dialogue achieved by the Government of Portugal in recent years”. Along these lines, he only noted that in Portugal there is “less regulatory uncertainty”, which makes the Atlantic country a “more appealing” place to invest. Precisely, Iberdrola plans to double the investments in the “gigabattery” and reach 3,000 million euros.
Potential for 10 GW
In Spain, the company estimates that there is potential to build 10 GW of new pumping facilities by 2030 at a cost of less than 1,000 euros/kW by adapting existing systems or connecting reservoirs, despite the fact that the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 of the Executive provides for 3,500 MW in the same period (now there are more than 5,000 MW of pumping installed).
“We have on the table the possibility of building 10 new pumping GW that will help us to better manage the system, to be able to integrate these renewables and in a relatively simple way depending on the type of pumping we do,” explained Lucía Arraiza, specialist in Iberdrola regulations.
The company calculates that this expansion would entail an investment of 8,000 million euros, the creation of 112,000 jobs a year, direct investments, and would enable 10,000 million euros in renewables.
Within a framework of stability, Iberdrola has several expansion projects in its portfolio at the Alcántara II (Extremadura), Conso II (Galicia), La Muela III (Valencia) and Sobrón II (Castilla y León) facilities, which would mean an additional 3,650 MW installed, 123 GWh of energy reserve, 3,000 million euros of investment and would generate 37,000 jobs. This bet would highlight the company’s executives, would have the participation of local companies, would promote employment and would combat the phenomenon of “emptied Spain”.