On 28 December, REN - Rede Eléctrica Nacional commissioned the Ribeira de Pena substation - a project that was scheduled for delivery by the end of 2021 - enabling, in this substation, direct connection to the grid of power plants that are of major importance to the country. These power plants are currently in the testing and trial phase.
This infrastructure is part of the 400 kV axis that connects the Gouvães, Daivões, and Alto Tâmega plant to the Portuguese National Electricity Transmission Grid (RNT - Rede Nacional de Transporte). With an area of five football pitches (4.6 hectares), the infrastructure will contribute to improving supply security at national and local levels, and to the outflow of other renewable generation from the Minho and Trás-os-Montes regions.
This RNT project enables connecting the Tâmega Power Generation System, one of the largest hydroelectric projects carried out in Europe in the last 25 years, to the grid, and was completed over 14 months, with an average number of 44 workers involved, in a total of 131,000 hours of work. Overall, the work on Ribeira de Pena Substation involved 65 companies, required moving 65,000 cubic metres of land, and was enabled by the contribution of the local communities, namely the municipality of Ribeira de Pena.
The substation is located in the municipality of Ribeira de Pena, in the Parish Councils of Ribeira de Pena (Salvador) and Santo Aleixo de Além-Tâmega, and was the target of a landscape integration project with over 13 hectares, seeking to minimise its visual impact by aesthetically framing the facilities in the surrounding landscape, taking into account the ecological nature of the site, the recovery of the natural systems affected by the infrastructure's deployment, and the sustainability of the project's evolution over time. The focus was on native species that are resistant to forest fires, thus favouring the region's existing biodiversity.
This project is part of the Portuguese National Electricity Transmission Grid Development Plan and is especially important to the objectives and targets of the Portuguese and European Union energy policy: Sustainability, Security of Supply, Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Reduction of Energy Dependence, and Market and Competition Integration.
The substation of Ribeira de Pena integrates an axis of European relevance (Vieira do Minho - Ribeira de Pena - Feira), and received the status of Project of Common Interest from the European Commission.