Spain utility plans hydro for Africa’s Canary Islands

The Canary Islands subsidiary of Spanish utility Endesa plans to invest 1.3 billion euros (US$1.74 billion) through 2011 to boost island electric capacity, including a number of innovative hydropower installations.

Endesa’s Union Electrica de Canarias SA (Unelco) invested 268 million euros (US$358 million) in 2006 to increase the Canaries’ installed capacity by 266 MW, expand its transmission and distribution, and improve quality of supply.

In addition to combustion turbine and diesel unit installations, Unelco advanced a program to expand the 800-kW El Mulato hydroelectric project on La Palma Island to 5 MW.

It also is planning to convert El Hierro, one of the smallest Canary Islands, to 100 percent renewable energy. By 2009, the island is to rely on a wind farm to generate electricity to pump water into reservoirs feeding a 10-MW hydroelectric plant.

Unelco also presented the local government and the Council of Industry an innovative project for Gran Canaria Island, installation of a hydro plant to employ a 400-meter difference in elevation between the existing Chira and Soria dams.

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