Canary Islands begins work on €400m “state of the art” hydro battery

Gran Canaria is the third largest and second most populous island of the Canary Islands (European Space Agency/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Work has started on a “pumped hydro” plant in Gran Canaria, Spain, that will be able to store 3.5GWh of potential energy, reports El Periódico de la Energía.

The €400m plant, which will take around six years to complete, is being built in Salto de Chira by Spanish grid operator Red Eléctrica de España.

The plant will pump water into two reservoirs formed by the Chira and Soria dams during periods of low energy demand. It will use this to generate up to 200MW of power at times of high demand, equivalent to more than a third of the island’s needs.

According to Red Eléctrica, the project will improve Gran Canaria’s energy system, which is separate from the Spanish grid. It will also increase the share of renewables from 20% to 51% and save €122m a year in imported fossil fuel.

The scheme is expected to create more than 4,300 jobs, of which around 3,500 will be in Gran Canaria itself.

Beatriz Corredor, the president of Red Eléctrica de España, commented that 100,000 hours of engineering had been needed to create what she called “the most avant-garde pumping technology”.

The project also includes the construction of a water desalination plant in the municipality of Arguineguín, to replace the drinking water lost by energy generation.

A video showing how the plant will work can be seen here.

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