Portugal EDP Renováveis opens first hybrid solar, wind farm

  • Lusa
  • 12 January 2023

The Sabugal park was built in 2004, initially for wind power production, and in March 2022, the solar component began to be installed, with around 17,000 panels.

EDP Renováveis (EDPR) announced on Thursday the grid connection of its first hybrid project globally and the first in the Iberian Peninsula, in Sabugal, which combines wind and solar power generation in a single location.

“It is the first time we are connecting a wind farm to a solar farm, and it is the first time, in the Iberian Peninsula, that any operator is doing that. So, in this respect, we are pioneers. We were the first to start this path about four or five years ago when we had the challenges of changing the framework so that this is allowed”, said Duarte Bello, executive director of the company for Europe and Latin America.

During a visit to the equipment site, at Orgueirel Mine, in the municipality of Sabugal, near Guarda, he said that the moment was “remarkable” for the EDP group.

“It is a very important day because we are here showing an element and a signal that will allow us to accelerate the energy transition that today is a priority for all countries,” he said.

The Sabugal park was built in 2004, initially for wind power production, and in March 2022, the solar component began to be installed, with around 17,000 panels.

The wind strand has the capacity to produce around 11 Megawatts (MW), and the solar strand has 9 MW of power: “Basically, we doubled the capacity of the park with the same grid connection infrastructure”.

“I think that is the point that is very important. Nowadays, grid connection is probably one of the main constraints we have to be able to accelerate the energy transition. With this park, we basically managed to double the capacity that we are using from the grid,” he said.

And he added: “We had a capacity of more or less 25%, and we are already close to 50% when we combine the two parks simultaneously. And that is a decisive aspect for us to be able to accelerate the incorporation of renewable [energies] in the energy matrix of this country or any country”.

The hybrid park occupies an area of 13 hectares and can supply “around 30,000 people”, which corresponds to a small city or town.

According to EDPR’s executive director for Europe and Latin America, incorporating renewable energies “is a decisive factor in reducing the cost of energy”.

EDPR is building an identical park in the municipalities of Penela and Ansião, in the districts of Coimbra and Leiria, respectively, and three in Spain, but did not advance figures for the investments.

Bello said that between 2021 and 2025, the group would invest “over €24 billion” in energy transition projects.

The Mina de Orgueirel solar photovoltaic plant was installed in the municipality of Sabugal, next to the Mosteiro wind farm, interconnecting directly with its substation, taking advantage of existing electrical infrastructures and thus creating a hybrid electricity production complex.

“Together, this hybridisation project can produce 39.5 GWh/year, enough to supply more than 30,000 people with renewable energy for a year. This hybrid complex will also avoid the emission of around 18,000 tonnes of CO2 annually,” said EDPR.

EDP “is currently studying or developing over 1,600 MW in hybrid projects in Portugal and Spain in these technologies, with different stages of maturity and with operations expected to start over the next few years”.

The company intends to continue investing in similar projects in all its countries and is developing them in North America, South America and in some other regions of Europe such as Poland, Italy and Greece.

The EDP group has been a pioneer at the European level in the development of hybrid renewable projects, having inaugurated in 2022, at the Alqueva Dam, the largest floating solar project in Europe on a reservoir of a hydro power plant.