Spain is located in southwestern Europe, bordering the bay of Biscay, the Mediterranean sea, North Atlantic ocean, and the Pyrenees mountains. It has a total area of 504,782km2 including 499,542km2 of land and 5240km2 of water, with a total population of 40.3M (July 2005 estimate, CIA Facts).

According to IEA Energy Statistics, total electricity produced during 2002 was 246,077GWh, consisting of coal 82,457GWh; oil 28,593GWh; gas 32,386GWh; biomass 3933GWh; waste 566GWh; nuclear 63,016GWh; hydro 26,387GWh; solar 35GWh; and other sources 8704GWh.

Spain has several major mountain ranges and it is the second highest country in Europe after Switzerland in terms of average height asl. The first hydro power plant in Spain was constructed at the end of the 19th century and about 40% of electricity was produced by hydro power plants in 1901. Spain has 1172 large dams currently in operation, of which 195 are embankments, 957 are concrete dams and 20 are composite dams.

Spain had an installed hydro power capacity of 15,698MW in 2003, which is equivalent to 15.5% of national electricity. To date, about 52% of the technically feasible potential has been developed. The gross theoretical hydro power potential in Spain is 162,000GWh, whereas the technical feasible potential is 61,000GWh and the economically feasible potential is 37,000GWh. About 900MW will be added to the country’s hydro power potential if it upgrades the existing plants that are more then 40 years old.

Around 2229MW of small hydro power capacity is planned to be developed by 2010; this will generate 6912GWh of electricity. Another 35MW mini hydro capacity is under construction.

Educational programmes

• Universidad Politecnica de Madrid has a department of Civil Engineering. This department offers a degree in Hydraulics and Energy, and some other topics related to hydro power.

• Universidad Politecnica de Valencia has a department of Hydraulic Engineering and Environment, offering a Masters programme.

• Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya has a department of Hydraulic, Maritime and Environmental Engineering (DEHMA), set up as a structural unit in 1988. The department is divided into four sections: Hydraulic and Hydrological Engineering; Maritime Engineering (with a laboratory); Sanitary and Environmental Engineering; and Hydraulic Machines and Systems Engineering.

• University of Granada has a Civil Engineering department which offers Hydraulics Engineering.

• Universidad de Cadiz offers an Engineering programme in Hydraulics.

• Universaidad Politecnica de Cartagena has a department named Ingeniería Térmica y de Fluidos. It offers Civil Technical Engineering with a specialisation in Hydrology. Here, hydro power is taught on three courses, with a total of 11-15 hours dedicated to the topic. The study concentrates mostly on service of the tips of the curves of load.

• Universidad Europea de Madrid has a Masters in renewable energy, which partially concentrates on hydro power.

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