GE to supply technologies for Portugal’s 192-MW Frades II pumped storage facility

BERLIN 4/26/12 (PennWell) — GE Energy will supply power conversion technologies to Voith for use on the new Frades II pumped-storage hydroelectric plant.

The facility, being built on the left bank of the Cavado River in the Braga region of northern Portugal, is one of six new hydropower plants being constructed by Energias de Portugal (EDP). 

The Frades II plant will be completed in 2014 and will complement the existing Frades I and Villa Nova facilities.

Voith is supplying electromechanical equipment and two 420-MVA reversible pump turbine sets, and GE says Frades will be the first hydro plant in Portugal to feature its variable-speed power conversion technologies.

According to GE, pumped-storage facilities have traditionally controlled pump output in fixed speeds by activating or deactivating individual machine sets. However, the variable-speed power conversion system will allow EDP to operate the facility with a wider range of loads, allowing the facility to better match the grid’s changing requirements.

This is important, GE says, because the plant is being built largely to help regulate the consistency of Portugal’s power production. The country currently generates about 15% of its electricity from wind power and is planning to add another 5.4 GW of wind capacity in the next decade.

GE’s technologies have also been used in Germany’s 1,060-MW Thuringia pumped-storage plant, as well as two plants in Switzerland that have a combined capacity of more than 2,000 MW.

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