Conglomerate GE will provide six 37MW turbines for a pumped hydro energy storage plant in the Spanish overseas territory of Gran Canaria.
The company is partnering with engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm Cobra Infrastructuras Hidráulicas to deploy the generating units for the Chira Soria Pumped Storage Power Plant plant.
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Chira Soria will have a nameplate power rating of 200MW and an energy storage capacity of 3,500MWh, indicating a discharge duration of 17.5 hours at full output. The facility will help balance the grid on Gran Canaria, which lies off the coast of Morocco, and is expected to come online in 2027.
Pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) technology works by pumping water from a lower reservoir into an upper one during times of surplus energy on the grid, and releasing it back down through the turbines to generate power when it is needed later. Chira Soria will use desalinated seawater.
PHES is the vast majority of deployed energy storage capacity today, but new projects can take up to a decade or more from inception to commissioning so are relatively few and far between. In some places, like the UK, some projects are essentially ready-to-build but need reforms to electricity markets in order to go ahead, according to their developers. Specifically, reforms which increase the market value of long-duration energy storage (LDES).
GE and Cobra were selected to deliver the project by Red Eléctrica, the transmission system operator for Spain and its overseas territories. The scope of work for the pair covers the design, supply, transport, and commissioning of the turbines, generators, main transformers and electrical balance-of-plant (BOP) equipment.
The PHES plant will be able to increase the production of renewable energy by 37% compared to a situation where the plant did not exist, the companies said. That will in turn increase the country’s annual renewable generation portion of electricity to 51%.
The plant will also improve energy security on the island, and save €122 million (US$134 million) in costs relating to importing fossil fuel energy resources.
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.”
Pascal Radue, GE Hydro Solutions president and 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.”
It is GE’s second large PHES order as of late. In late 2022, it installed the first two of four turbines for a 1.2GW plant in China, as reported by Energy-Storage.news.