In the 21st century hydro electric
power counts for around 19% of the world's electricity. Today most
hydro power is produced by damned water powering a water turbine and
The most common hydro power plants
utilise reservoirs and
Portugal has a variety across the country,
which not only provide mains water for some of the larger communities,
also power and generate electricity for them.
In 2007 Europe's largest man made
reservoir (barragem) was opened in the Alentejo region of Portugal at
Alqueva. To construct the reservoir the Guadiana River was damned and an
entire community re-housed. The villagers of Aldeia de Luz (around 350
people) were relocated to a specially designed and constructed village.
The reservoir covers an area measuring 250 square kilometres.
It is estimated when the hydro power plant
at Alqueva is completed it will generate around 380 Giga
watts/hour/year. The total cost of the construction is estimated to be
1,892 million Euros.
Until the opening of Alqueva,
Castelo do Bode in
Central Portugal was the largest man made reservoir in
but now falls into second position. Since it's construction was
completed in the late 1950s it has supplied drinking water to
become a water sports centre.
Spanning 60 kilometres up the
Castelo do Bode is not only producing electricity, but has become
a tourist destination. Although it is no longer holds the title of the
largest reservoir the dam itself is the highest in