Of all the sources of electricity generation available, the waterfalls were the embryo of Iberdrola's business at the start of its generation activity in Spain, more than a century ago when its original companies (Iberduero and Hidroeléctrica Española) began to operate . Now, the company, which has 9,716 megawatts (Mw) hydroelectric in Spain, continues betting for this type of facilities in the countries where technically they can be built. The one at the Baixo Iguazú plant in Brazil, inaugurated this week, is the latest example of the company's commitment to renewable energies, where facilities that use water from rivers to produce light continue to play a key role
The bet on this technology It has also led it to be a leader in the field of hydroelectric pumping, the most efficient energy storage method available today, with an installed capacity of 4,400 Mw. With Baixo Iguazú, Iberdrola has increased the capacity of hydroelectric production by 350 Mw in Brazil. It is one of the major markets where the corporation chaired by Ignacio Galán has its sights set on developing a strategic plan that foresees investments of up to 13,300 million euros globally in renewables. Only in the Brazilian case it plans, for example, to expand its hydroelectric capacity by another 367 Mw in 2020, within a plan that will allocate 6,500 million in all types of energy infrastructure in that country, as Galán has anticipated this week from Iguazú .
The battery of Europe
When the connection of the different facilities proposed in this strategic plan ends, as far as hydroelectric power is concerned, Iberdrola will have added 1,630 MW to its portfolio of activities, which represents approximately 18% of the different green plants that will be launched in the next four years. Outstanding are the 3,273 MW in wind energy or the 2,791 MW in photovoltaics.
Its new emblematic project is located in the Portuguese Támega, with 1,158 Mw more
Another of the major hydroelectric projects that will be added to the Brazilian project officially inaugurated this week with the presence of the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, and that the company has in process is that of Támega, three new plants (Gouvaes, Daivoes and Alto Támega), that will rise on the Portuguese river that bears that name and that suppose an investment of more than 1,500 million euros. When the three facilities are underway (full commissioning is expected in 2021), will add an installed capacity of 1,158 Mw, which represents an increase of 6% of the total electric power installed in that country. The complex will produce 1,766 Gwh per year to meet the energy needs of some 440,000 households.
The construction of a hydroelectric plant involves the development of parallel projects in the environmental field, due to the works that are carried out on the land in which the installation is developed. In the case of Baixo Iguazú, for example, this plant is characterized by its reduced impact: on the one hand, of the 31 square kilometers of the deposit of the plant, more than 20 square kilometers belong to the river itself; and, on the other hand, thanks to the use of three Kaplan turbines, one of the most efficient on the market, the required flood area is significantly lower than that of other hydroelectric plants.
One of the variables that prompted the construction of this plant in the middle of one of the largest rivers in Latin America was precisely the regulation of waters in the well-known Iguazu Falls, the tourist meeting point that serves as a natural border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The regulation of the production of the plant, which is upstream, about 100 kilometers from that natural space, will stabilize the cascades, which from now on "will always have the minimum necessary flow", according to an opinion of the National Operator of the Electric System (ONS) of that country, after droughts like those of 2006. In addition, several environmental programs have been carried out that monitor, rescue and preserve native species and a corridor has been built for the fauna.
An increasingly internationalized business
The results presented by Iberdrola until the first quarter of this year show the diversification of activities that the company has spread throughout the world. The start-up of the Baixo Iguazú hydroelectric plant (Brazil) is one of the examples of the importance of business in other countries beyond Spain when it comes to setting up its income statement.
Until last March, approximately 60% of its operating profit (Ebidta) had been generated in non-Spanish markets. The contribution of these territories is very different depending on whether it is Networks, Renewables or Generation, the three main pillars of the company.
Each one of the markets is a key bet for Iberdrola, as it happens in the United States, whose presence is growing day by day, especially as regards renewable projects. It also highlights the role Mexico is playing, with numerous projects in sight.
And in Brazil, the company aims to market its subsidiary Neoenergia, as its shareholders have already approved. It will be in July, as anticipated last Thursday the president of the firm, Ignacio Galán. Precisely this week Neoenergia announced that it has initiated the procedure to carry out a bond issue for about 312.5 million dollars before going public. All the resources collected will be used to pay "expenses related to the development, construction and operation of hydroelectric plants, wind farms and transmission assets that are owned by the company or that come to own."
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