Salto de Chira pumped-storage hydropower plant
The Salto de Chira hydropower plant is an essential infrastructure in the push for sustainability of the new energy model in the Canary Islands, based on renewable energies.


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This energy storage installation is an effective operation tool of the electrical system for improving supply guarantee, system security and renewable energy integration on the island of Gran Canaria.

The General Directorate for Energy of the Department of Ecological Transition, the Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning of the Government of the Canary Islands has issued the administrative authorisation for the Salto de Chira pumped-storage hydroelectric power station project, to be built on the island of Gran Canaria. This is the first major energy storage project in the Canary Islands.

The approval of the preliminary administrative and construction permits, as well as the declaration of Public Utility of the project by the General Directorate for Energy of the Government of the Canary Islands, will allow construction work to begin on the energy storage infrastructure.

The authorised project will take advantage of the fact that there are two large inland reservoirs (the Chira and Soria dams) located on the island in order to build between them a 200-MW pumped-storage hydroelectric power station (equivalent to approximately 36% of the peak demand of the island of Gran Canaria) and an energy storage capacity of 3.5 GWh. Additionally, the project includes the construction of a seawater desalination plant and the associated marine works, as well as the necessary facilities for connection to the transmission grid.

Water will be an essential element for the operation of the new infrastructure, but it is also a scarce resource in the archipelago. Therefore in order to fulfil its mission as an energy storage facility, the project includes the construction of a water desalination plant in the municipality of Arguineguín, which will guarantee the necessary flow in the reservoirs at all times.

Red Eléctrica de España will invest more than €400 million in the construction of Salto de Chira, a project that has been declared of general interest by the Government of the Canary Islands. Project execution and completion is expected to take about 70 months as of the date the works commence.

Benefits of Salto de Chira

The benefits it will provide the Canary Islands’ electricity system are the following:

  • Increased guarantee of supply for Gran Canaria, by increasing the installed power capacity and strengthening the security of the electricity system; elements that are essential for an isolated electricity system, as is the case of the Canary Islands system, in order to reduce the vulnerability of the system as a whole. In addition, in the event of a supply interruption, this facility will help speed up and drastically shorten the service restoration times.
  • An increase in the integration of renewable energies by having an essential facility to take advantage of the surplus of renewable energies and that will help integrate a greater amount of locally produced energy. In 2026, the power station will increase renewable energy production on the island by 37%, over the estimated energy that would be generated without the existence of this facility, would raise the average annual coverage of the demand using renewable generation to 51%, which at specific times may be much higher. This will lead to an additional reduction in annual CO2 emissions of 20%.
  • Increased energy independence and savings in variable generation costs amounting to 122 million euros per year by reducing imports of more expensive and polluting fossil fuels.

 

Furthermore, it is estimated that the project will generate 4,366 jobs, of which 3,518 will be generated in Gran Canaria (1,423 direct jobs, 1,987 indirect jobs and 109 induced jobs), contributing to the economic recovery of the Canary Islands archipelago in a sustainable manner and in line with the principles of the European Green Deal and the strategic lines and basic principles of the Pact for the Social and Economic Reactivation of the Canary Islands.