Voith is supplying two reversible pump turbine sets and electromechanical equipment for the project, with the turbine sets set to feature GE’s variable-speed power conversion technology, making Frades II the first pumped storage power plant in Portugal to use this system. At 420MVA each in generator mode, the sets also will be the most powerful variable-speed systems in Europe, said GE.

“With our variable speed drive technology, pumped-storage plant operators are better able to meet the need for peak supplies of power. This capability is essential to the future integration of more renewable energy onto the grid,” said Georg Möhlenkamp, senior leader product management of GE Energy’s Power Conversion business. “GE’s variable speed technology is playing a vital role in enabling pumped-storage power plants to have shorter response times and greater flexibility in reacting to changing wind power conditions that can undermine grid reliability. This is just one example of how GE’s energy management solutions are playing an important supporting role in the expansion of renewable energy throughout Europe.”

Frades II is one of six new hydropower plants that Portuguese utility Energias de Portugal (EDP) is building throughout the country. When construction is completed in 2014, the facility will be one of Europe’s most powerful pumped storage power plants and will complement the existing Frades I and Vila Nova facilities.