Tâmega: one of the most important initiatives in the energy sector in Portuguese history

This flagship project of the Iberdrola group entails an investment of more than €1,500 million to build three new plants (Gouvães, Daivões and Alto Tâmega) on the Tâmega River.

Tâmega River, north of Portugal

Total installed capacity
1,158 MW

Energy production
1,766 GWh per year

Project investment
More than 1,5 billion euros

Start date
Complete infraestructure in 2023

Investment in the Sociocultural
and Environmental Action Plan
50 million euros

Job creation
13,500 direct and indirect jobs


The Tâmega project involves the construction of three new power plants: Gouvães, Daivões and Alto Tâmega, which will be erected over the Tâmega River, a tributary of the Duero in the north of Portugal, close to Oporto. The three power plants will have an installed capacity totalling 1,158 MW, representing an increase of 6% in the total installed electrical power in the country. The complex will be capable of producing 1,766 GWh per year, enough to meet the energy needs of the neighbouring towns and the cities of Braga and Guimarães (440,000 homes).

The project Tâmega, which will involve an investment of more than 1.5 billion euros, including funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB). In July, this financial institution loaned Iberdrola 500 million euros, the first tranche of the 650 approved in total for the funding of this development. Currently, 23% of the group's funding is now what is known as green financing.

This project will mean the end of 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually and will diversify the generation sources, doing away with imports of over 160,000 tonnes of oil per year. Also will promote to the economic activity and the employment in the region, because it is estimated that up to 13,500 jobs will be generated, including direct and indirect jobs, during the entire construction phase and several hundred people will be hired in operational phase.

It is expected that Gouvâes will start operating in 2021, Daivões in 2022 and Alto Tâmega in 2023.


The construction of the three new dams and hydroelectric plants, including a pumping station, is continuing at a good pace and in line with the timetable established at the onset of the project. Forty percent (40%) of the works have already been completed, meaning that the complex should be fully completed in 2023 — as and how planned —, nine years after construction began.

At Gouvães the assembly of the four generator sets is already underway. These will produce a total power of 880 MW and will be housed in an underground cavern with a volume equivalent to 25 Olympic swimming pools. This will be a reversible plant, in other words it will make possible to store water from the Daivões reservoir to be stored in that of the Gouvães, thereby taking advantage of the 650+ metres of height difference between both. This means that energy can be used to pump water up when there is an excess of production and be recuperated when required. Its storage capacity will allow for continuous electricity supply for the Oporto metropolitan area for 24 hours.

The Gouvães quarry is already operational and producing the aggregates that will be exclusively used in the concrete of the Tâmega Hydroelectric Complex, including the concrete used to build the dams. This quarry is expected to produce more than 2 million tons of aggregates, the equivalent to the weight of 5,000 fully equipped Boeing 747s carrying passengers.

Meanwhile, the construction of Daivões is advancing as planned. April saw the onset of the concrete pouring of the dam, the construction of which — that will take approximately one year — will involve the use of around 242,000 m3 of concrete.

This is being done using a concrete pouring plant with a production capacity of 200 m3/h and equipped with two blondins. These are systems used for transporting and positioning the concrete operated via suspended cables supported on the higher levels to the side of the site. The concreting works began after the foundations for the dam had been excavated and these works, which lasted more than 13 months, involved the removal of around 136,000 m3 de rock.


The company is leader in energy storage with an installed power of 4,400 MW using pumping technology, the current most efficient storage method, since it generates no atmospheric contaminating emissions and its performance is much higher than that of the best storage banks in the market.

Hydroelectric power plants like the Tâmega are a safeguard for the electrical system. The largest facility of this kind in Europe is the Cortes-La Muela complex in Valencia.


  • Tâmega Project

    This Plan, developed in the context of the Tâmega project and signed by the different Municipal Chambers participating in it, includes a record figure of over 50 million euros for the economic, social and cultural development of the Alto Tâmega region.

    The purpose of the program is to contribute to the development of the region and improve the standard of living of the population — it's estimated that 3,500 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs will be generated during the execution of the complex — as well as to preserve the environment where the project will be carried out, from an environmental point of view. Planned actions will be carried out in the municipalities of Ribeira de Pena, Vila Pouca de Aguiar, Cabeceiras de Basto, Boticas, Chaves, Valpaços and Montalegre.

    An example is the region of Boticas, in which Iberdrola has participated in the development of the Boticas, Nature and Biodiversity park, building accommodation for visitors and encouraging actions for the compensation of the natural environment's flora and fauna.

    Boticas, Nature and Biodiversity park.

    Boticas, Nature and Biodiversity park.

    The company is going to carry out this type of remedial action for the local flora and fauna both in Boticas and in Cabeceiras de Basto, Ribeira de Pena, Vila Pouca de Aguiar and Chaves by signing two collaboration protocols. The actions planned include the management, recovery and conservation of forest populations of indigenous species, the recovery of riverside forests and improving the connectivity between river courses, planting cork oaks and improving aquatic ecosystems.

    In addition to these projects, Iberdrola is funding other activities, such as the improvement of the public sewer and water supply networks, upgrading and optimising sporting facilities, upgrading the equipment used by fire brigades, new recreational areas, etc. In addition, it has co-funded the construction of the new and flagship facilities and installations in the area, such as the Alvão Village Campsite, the Pedras Salgadas Horse Riding Centre or the Educational Health Resort in Vidago.

    With this type of aid, Iberdrola consolidates its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

  • Tresminas Roman gold Mining Site

    Tresminas Mine Complex, Portugal. Video voice transcription (Spanish version) [PDF]

    As part of the construction of the large Tâmega Hydroelectric Complex, Iberdrola has also promoted a visit to the Tresminas Roman gold Mining Site, a project that is part of the compensation actions carried out by the company pursuant to what is established in the Environmental Impact Statement. 

    With the investment of 1.84 million Euros in the Tresminas Mine Complex, Iberdrola is demonstrating its commitment to the economic, social, cultural and environmental development of the communities where it operates. The company is collaborating with the Vila Pouca de Aguiar Town Council and the North Portugal Regional Department of Culture in the historical, archaeological and heritage enhancement of the region. This investment started in 2016 and is expected to continue until 2023.

    The company has allocated, between 2016 and the end of 2018, around 850,000 Euros which, throughout this year, will be invested as follows:

    • The funding of the technical equipment.
    • The continuation of the historical geological and fauna and flora studies in Tresminas.
    • The acquisition of equipment for visits to inverted cone pits and mine-shafts, and for their maintenance and/or clearance.
    • The construction of the support building and structures and equipment to support movement in the inverted cone pits and mine-shafts.


    The Tresminas Roman Mine Complex was, during the Roman Era, one of the main gold explorations in the primary deposits of the conventus bracaraugustanus and one of the most significant ones in the Northwest of the Peninsula: it is estimated that between the I and III centuries A.D. around 25 tonnes of pure gold were obtained from Tresminas, which involved the ejection of millions of tonnes of rock excavating open inverted cone pit mines.

    Iberdrola is committed with this initiative to the preservation of local and national heritage in the region of Tresminas, as well as to make the archaeological and historical importance of this mine complex well known and to boost tourism in the area.

    The investment made by the company allows a set of actions to be carried out that benefit the Tresminas Mine Complex, facilitating its future recognition as an Archaeological Park, which will safeguard the materials associated with Roman mining and the landscaping of the area.

    Tresminas is part of the municipality of Vila Pouca de Aguiar's strategic pillars in terms of cultural tourism.  The efforts made over the last few months, both at local and regional level, following the enhancement of the heritage and tourism value of Tresminas, have already resulted in an increase in the number of visitors to the region.


    In fact, these results have been supported by activities in cross-border partnership with Las Médulas, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997 and one of the most important and well-known Roman mines, in the El Bierzo region in Spain. The candidature is made jointly, in a common cultural project, which aims to enhance the value of the Iberian Peninsula's Roman mining legacy. In 2017, this cooperation protocol between the Municipality of Vila Pouca de Aguiar and the Las Médulas Foundation was supported by organisations such as the Direção Regional de Cultura do Norte and the Castilla y León regional government's General Directorate of Cultural Heritage. This alliance aims to further strengthen the candidature of this area of Portugal as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.