The World's First Power Plant To Combine Hydro And Solar Opens In Portugal

Alexander C. Kaufman for Huffington Post:  The debate around energy in the United States at times devolves into quasi-tribal disputes over the merits of one power source over another. Often this pits renewable energy against entrenched fossil fuels. But sometimes carbon-free energy sectors, such as solar and hydropower, go head to head over which is cleaner.

Not so in Portugal, where officials in Montalegre inaugurated the world’s first hydro-solar power station this week. The Alto Rabagão dam, near the country’s northern border with Spain, added 840 floating solar panels earlier this year, boosting the plant’s total peak capacity by 220 kilowatts. The rig of solar panels is about the size of what might be placed atop a large warehouse.

The project is expected to generate 332 megawatt hours in its first year, enough to power 100 homes for a year.  

It’s a relatively modest development, but it offers big potential. Energias de Portugal, the utility giant behind the project, operates a large business in Brazil, where over 70 percent of power generation comes from hydro plants. If the cocktail of hydro and solar at Alto Rabagão proves successful, the project could be a model for meeting Brazil’s electricity demand, which is expected to more than triple by 2050.  Full Article:

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