GE has been selected – in consortium with Cobra Infrastructuras Hidráulicas – by Red Eléctrica, the sole transmission agent and operator of the national electricity System in Spain, to deliver six Pumped Storage turbines for the 200 MW Chira Soria project in Gran Canaria, 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.
This hydropower project will play a pivotal role in the energy transition for Gran Canaria. Among other things, the six Pumped Storage units of 37 MW each will help 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 and, in times of demand, water from the upper reservoir is released, generating electricity as the water passes through the turbine, to ultimately deliver renewable energy when needed. For this project, the water will be pumped from the sea and desalted before reaching the upper reservoir. Once completed, the power station will increase renewable energy production on the island by 37%, over the estimated energy that would be generated without the existence of this facility. It would also raise the average annual coverage of the renewable generation demand to 51%, which may be much higher at specific times. This will lead to an additional reduction in annual CO2 emissions of 20%.
€122M savings in variable generation costs
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 save variable generation costs amounting to €122M per year by reducing dependence on more expensive energy imports. The site will also help to deliver water leading the agriculture, cattle raising, firefighting, and reforestation and help reduce desertification.
Juan Bola Merino, Non-peninsular Territories’ System Operation director, Red Eléctrica, said: “Chira Soria is key to the Canary Islands’ electricity system. It has been designed with the highest environmental standards to guarantee its integration with the minimum visual impact, as 91% 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”.
Pascal Radue, GE Hydro Solutions President & CEO, said: “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. 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”
Image source: Courtesy of GE Renewable Energy
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