THE CANARY ISLANDS want to fully decarbonise their economy by 2040- ten years before the rest of the European Union.
A big step towards that is the Salto de Chira ‘pumped hydro’ project on Gran Canaria utilising the existing Chira and Soria dams which should come on line in four years time.
A giant water battery will be created with the help of €400 million invested by the government in the first energy storage scheme which will serve all of the Canary Islands.
Water will be pumped from the Soria dam up to the Chira dam during periods when demand for energy is low.
When demand rises, water will be sent down from Chira to Soria via a tunnel over a set of turbines, thus creating energy.
The concept of ‘pumped hydro’ works as a battery as it can store and release power virtually on demand.
Over 75% of electricity on the Canaries is generated by burning oil, and the Salto de Chira project should eliminate a large part of that, as well as improving the environment and saving a lot of money.
Canary Islands president, Angel Victor Torres, said: “Energy storage is going to be one of the key elements in the energy transition, both for its contribution to electrification and for its capacity to enable enhanced management of renewable energy, which is especially important in non-interconnected systems such as the islands.”
Salto de Chira is expected to start generating in 2027, with up to 200MW of power at times of high demand- accounting for a third of what the islands need.
It will create over 4,000 direct and indirect jobs and save €122 million each year on fossil fuels.
At a stroke, Salto de Chira will increase renewable energy in the Canaries from 24% to 51%.