Canal de Isabel II is the public company with the greatest installed capacity in electricity generation throughout the Community. Although it has been taking advantage of the energy possibilities of water for decades, in 2021 it broke its historical record: 420 gigavaries/hour, which is equivalent to 87% of the electricity it consumed. This energy is produced in nine hydroelectric plants, sixteen treatment plants with motor generators –which work from the biogas generated in the treatment–; two cogeneration plants associated with the thermal drying of sludge –in Loeches and in the South Treatment Plant–; three small waterfalls of wastewater that take advantage of the difference in elevation at the discharge point; nine microturbines installed at different points in the supply network; and a small photovoltaic solar installation in the Loeches Sludge Treatment Unit, in addition to a small reversible pumping turbine.
This is the message that the Minister of the Environment and president of the Channel, Paloma Martín, will convey this week, during her participation in the First Global Symposium on Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions, organized by Itaipu Binational and the Department of Economic Affairs and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UNDESA) from June 13 to 15, in Brazil.
The experience of Canal de Isabel II producing energy from water goes back a long way. It began in 1913, when the Santa Lucía hydroelectric plant in Torrelaguna came into service: its large Pelton turbines took advantage of the 150-meter drop in the cross-channel as it passed through this town. Today it still works.
Later, a 45-kilovolt, 75-kilometre power line was put into operation that transported the energy produced to the elevator of the First Deposit, on Santa Engracia Street, from which it was possible to supply water to what was then the new development. from the Salamanca district.
The Madrid public water company has continued to advance along this path, and today it has facilities that, in addition to supplying and sanitation, generate renewable energy, taking advantage of waterfalls, mud treatments or installed photovoltaic roofs.
In addition to taking advantage of that energy that would otherwise be wasted, this formula is a magnificent tool against climate change, saving carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Only last year, the company managed to prevent the emission of almost 50,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. And in addition, they calculate in the public company that by purchasing energy with a guarantee of 100% renewable origin, the emission of another 43,000 tons of CO2 has been avoided.
The future plans of Canal de Isabel II are along the same lines: to continue generating clean energy with more photovoltaic energy generation lines and green hydrogen. It aims to become the first European company for the management of the complete water cycle that is fully self-sufficient in terms of energy: that is, it produces as much electricity as it consumes. A goal to be achieved before the year 2030, always using electricity generated from clean, renewable or highly efficient energy sources.
The company's experts are already working on detecting all the energy deposits available in its facilities: they will launch, for example, the Solar Plan, by which new photovoltaic solar plants will be installed in the company's infrastructures. In a first phase, it contemplates 34 actions and an investment of close to 45 million euros. Four facilities are already under construction or tender, including the Arroyo Culebro Cuenca Media Alta Treatment Plant, which will supply the first green hydrogen generation plant from reclaimed water in Spain.
«Canal is committed to the green economy and renewable energy sources. Photovoltaic energy, which will take off with the Solar Plan, and green hydrogen are the main bets for the future in a company like Canal, which has been committed to the production of clean energy for more than a century," explained Minister Paloma Martín.