28 September 2013

Fajã da Nogueira hydroelectric power station

The Fajã da Nogueira hydroelectric power plant was the last of the "big four" (the others being Serra de Água, Calheta and Ribeira da Janela) to be built and became operational in 1971. The purity of its design is only comparable with its perfect integration in the surrounding natural canvas.
The least powerful of all the four (according to the Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira website), averaging an annual production of 7 GWh, the Fajã da Nogueira power station is, unquestionably, the most beautiful of the group.
On the picture's foreground you can see the "Compensation Reservoir", the final destination of the turbinated waters. From here, the water already used to generate electrical energy is conducted to the Levada dos Tornos, with the city of Funchal as the final destination.
I, sometimes, laugh to myself when I think about our modern-days lexicon regarding the present ecological policies and the so-called sustainable growth. How full of vanity and ignorance our modern generation can be.
The hydraulic system constructed in Madeira over the centuries is an example of a cyclopic engineering feat built with the utmost respect for nature and the natural laws. Like the North-Americans say: they were already country, long before country was cool.
The perfect integration of these structures in the natural world and the present non-aggressive use we can do of the natural resources processed by them is an homage to their creators and to their mastery.
It saddens me, though, that forty years have passed. And that all those people, those creators, are no longer living among us.
Our loss, for sure. They would still have so much to teach us.