Spain utility wins concession for Portugal’s 1,134-MW Alto Tamega

Spanish utility Iberdrola won a concession to build and operate four hydroelectric plants totaling 1,134 MW on Portugal’s Alto Tamega River. The company said it plans to earmark 1.7 billion euros (US$2.2 billion) for the work.

Officials signed a contract to build and operate the projects during a ceremony January 23 in the town of Chaves, near the site of the new hydro plants. Portugal Prime Minister Jose Socrates and Iberdrola Chairman Ignacio Galan signed a contract for the project at the event.

Galan called the Alto Tamega hydroelectric complex one of the most important hydraulic undertakings in Portugal over the past 25 years and one of the great hydro developments in Europe. The complex is expected to complete the hydroelectric development of the Douro Basin, called the Duero where it extends into Spain.

Iberdrola said it plans to earmark funds in 2012-2018 for Alto Tamega’s four hydro plants, Gouvaes, Padroselos, Alto Tamega, and Daivoes. While it did not identify individual capacities, Iberdrola said two plants would offer 900 MW of pumping capacity and two conventional hydro plants would offer 234 MW, for a total capacity of 1,134 MW. The plants will generate about 2,000 GWh annually, which represents about 3 percent of Portugal’s electricity consumption.

Iberdrola was winning bidder in a solicitation by Portugal’s water agency, Instituto da Agua (Inag), for 112-MW Gouvaes, 113-MW Padroselos, 90-MW Alto Tamega, and 109-MW Daivoes. Although plant capacities identified by Inag totaled 424 MW, Iberdrola said the Alto Tamega Hydro complex would total 1,134 MW. Additionally, the investment figure is higher than an earlier figure of 1 billion euros (US$1.3 billion).

Iberdrola said it submitted the best bid for 65-year concessions, reported to be 303.7 million euros (US$398.5 million). (HNN 7/4/08)

The four power plants are among ten new projects, and five hydro project expansions, included in Portugal’s national program of dams with high hydropower potential, Programa Nacional de Barragens com Elevado Potencial Hidroelectrico. Inag recently awarded a concession to units of Spanish utility Endesa to design, build, and operate one of those projects, 72-MW Girabolhos, on Mondego River. (HNN 1/12/09)

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