The largest hydroelectric project in the history of Portugal

#engineering #hydroelectric power #Iberdrola projects

The Tâmega hydroelectric complex will be capable of guaranteeing the supply of energy for the almost three million inhabitants of Oporto and it will increase in a 6% the total electrical power installed in the country. Involved by three power plants, this project involves an investment of more than 1.5 billion euros.

Tâmega is one of the most important initiatives of the last 25 years in the European energy sector. It has been designed by Iberdrola to generate up to 1,766 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean energy and it will have three dams — Alto Tâmega, Daivões and Gouvães —, which will be erected over the Tâmega River, a tributary of the Duero in the north of Portugal, close to Oporto.

Gouvâes will be commissioned in 2021 and it will be used to store energy, supplying electricity to the entire metropolitan area of Oporto during 24-hour periods. It is expected that Daivões will start operating in 2022 and Alto Tâmega in 2023.

The project, which will involve an investment of more than 1.5 billion euros, including funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Bird's eye view of the Tamega Complex.#RRSSBird's eye view of the Tamega Complex.

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Bird's eye view of the Tamega Complex [PDF]


The Gouvães plant will have 880 MW of installed power and will have four turbines. It will be capable of running the water through turbines and pumping it to the Torno river from the Daivões reservoir with a pumping system: currently, the most efficient large-scale energy storage system.

This will be a reversible plant, in other words it will enable 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.

In addition, the Tâmega complex will generate a large amount of energy with a quick response time, without emitting contaminates, contributing to the stability of the electrical system and supply security, moderating prices, as well as reducing the cost of additional services.

The production of the Tâmega project will be 1,766 GWh/per year thanks to a 1,158 MW installed capacity, representing a 6% increase of the total electrical power installed in Portugal.


Work on the Tâmega project, which will carry on into 2023, will require an investment of more than €1,500M and this will have a very positive impact on the creation of local jobs: in this regard, it is estimated that the execution of this energy infrastructure will create 13,500 jobs during the construction works, out of which 3,500 will be direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs, including direct and indirect jobs.

However, Tâmega project brings advantages to the environment and society: this large-scale hydroelectric complex will prevent 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere every year, which is equivalent to the carbon dioxide released by traffic in the city of Madrid over a six-month period.

 Audio-visual materials of the project