Red Eléctrica de España and its French counterpart Réseau de Transport d'Électricité have begun the public consultation of the project for the electricity interconnection between Spain and France via the Bay of Biscay, in accordance with European requirements that require a process of public participation in the initial processing stage of trans-European energy infrastructure.
The new 370 km long electricity link will strengthen the interconnection capacity between Spain and France, as well as that of the Iberian system with the rest of Europe, therefore improving the security and guarantee of the electricity supply, in addition to increasing the efficiency of both electricity systems and allowing greater integration of renewable energies.
This will be the first fundamentally submarine interconnection between Spain and France, which will increase the current exchange capacity from 2,800 megawatts (MW) to 5,000 MW, increasing the security, stability and quality of electricity supply between the two countries and also with the rest of Europe. With an approximate budget of 1,750 million euros and an expected completion date in 2025, it was declared a Project of Common Interest by the European Commission and the European Parliament in October 2013.
370 kilometres in length, 280 of which will be underwater
The direct current interconnection will be 370 kilometres in length and will be composed of four cables, two per link, with a transmission capacity of 2 x 1,000 MW. The length of the underwater section of the cables will be about 280 kilometres, while the land section will be 10 kilometres long in Spain and 80 kilometres long in France.
While each member state will need to analyse and authorise the project based on its own procedures for electricity infrastructure, the European Union requires that Projects of Common Interest guarantee public participation and public access to information.
To this end, a project website has been set up and, during the last quarter of 2017, Red Eléctrica will hold meetings with the local councils affected by the project to explain the scope of the project to the local authorities and the public. Information points will also be established and documentation will be distributed in the six municipalities included in the scope of study. Similarly, technical informative sessions are planned in order to provide information to the various stakeholder groups.
The company responsible for the project is INELFE, which was set up on 1 October 2008 and jointly-owned in equal shares by the transmission companies of Spain and France, Red Eléctrica de España and Réseau de Transport d'Électricité, respectively. The aim of INELFE is to build and bring into service electricity interconnections between the two countries in order to increase the electricity exchange capacity between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. INELFE undertook and completed the construction of first electricity interconnection between France and Spain through the Pyrenees.
Spain currently has an interconnection level with Europe that falls far short of the minimum set by the European Union for 2020: 10% of installed generation capacity, which in the case of Spain would have to reach 10,000 MW compared to the current 2,800 MW by 2020.
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