Every four years, Spain's General State Administration works together with its autonomous communities to draft an energy plan that defines what the electric system will be like in the medium- and long-term. This plan identifies the need to develop new infrastructures that are necessary to ensure the energy supply throughout the country, taking into account aspects of environmental, social and economic sustainability.
The publications of Ministerial Order TEC/212/2019 on 25 February kicked off the process of preparing the electricity transmission grid infrastructure planning which has the primary goal of turning the electricity transmission grid into a key vector in Spain’s energy transition.
The planning process is a participatory process conducted by Spain’s General State Administration, its autonomous communities, its National Commission on Markets and Competition, Red Eléctrica de España and all of the sector actors. Society as a whole is also given a say in information and consultation processes.
It is structured into the following six phases: proposals, preliminary studies, debate, studies, consolidation and approval.See the role each participant plays in the various planning phases here (Available only in Spanish).
It is the instrument that is used to define the series of reinforcements that must be made in the electrical transmission grid in a given period in order to incorporate the energy policy defined on a national and European level, and ensuring the electrical supply throughout Spain in accordance with the criteria of sustainability.
It therefore defines the new facilities that will be added to the transmission grid and how existing facilities will be reinforced, distinguishing between:
The main objective of the plan is to design the transmission grid in a way that will comply with the national and European energy policies, and that will secure the country's long-term energy supply, taking into account environmental and economic efficiency criteria. In the current process, the primary objective of the future transmission grid will be for it to be a vector for facilitating the energy transition.
It also includes the actions that will be necessary for stakeholders to connect to the transmission grid that meet the requirements for doing so (large consumers, generators, etc.).
Demand and generation are not planned, but indicative forecasts are made to plan the transmission grid efficiently and effectively.
The plan is published digitally on the website of the Ministry for Ecological Transition (MITECO) once it has been approved by the government in the Council of Ministers.
The current plan is available at the following link: Plan de desarrollo de la red de energía eléctrica 2015-2020 (Available only in Spanish).
The plan is prepared by the General State Administration together with the autonomous communities and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, and it is approved by the government after passing congress and following a hearing. The Strategic environmental evaluation has to be prepared for it to be approved.
Red Eléctrica provides technical support to the Ministry by conducting the studies that determine where the transmission grid needs to be reinforced and by analysing proposals from the various stakeholders. It uses the results of these studies to prepare the “Initial Transmission grid Development Proposal”, and then it analyses the arguments from the autonomous communities and sends the “Development Proposal” to the Ministry.
By law, a plan has to be prepared every four years, and it must cover a six-year period.
Before it is approved, the electric plan must first go through a strategic environmental evaluation process that includes any queries from affected public administrations and stakeholders.
The development of the transmission grid must allow for the development of the national and European energy policies and it must satisfy the requirements defined by the ministry in this regard.
New facilities must also meet a series of technical criteria stipulated in the following operating procedures:
No. Red Eléctrica prepares proposals for developing the transmission grid based on energy policy criteria that have been defined depending on the proposals received from stakeholder groups in the process, but MITECO has the final say on which infrastructures will be included in the plan.
The regulatory aspects are included in Spanish Law 24/2013, on the Electricity Sector, Spanish Royal Decree 1955/2000, Spanish Royal Decree 1047/2013, Spanish Law 21/2013, on Environmental Assessment and Spanish Royal Decree Law 1/2019.
It is a transparent participatory process in which all of the stakeholders from the electricity sector participate, and it also allows for any entities or individuals to participate if they would like.
The process consists of the following phases:
The plan undergoes a strategic environmental evaluation that makes it possible to introduce environmental criteria into the decision making process in an incipient phase, pursuant to Spanish Law 21/2013, December, 9.
No, although certain work may be performed to modify existing infrastructures.
Since the plan is mandatory, the facilities specified in it need to be built. However, there may be reasons that make it impossible to build certain facilities: physical, environmental and economic reasons, or due to the relevant stakeholders quitting. In these cases the plan will need to be adapted using the methods specified by law.
This may occur for various reasons: on one hand, the reason for building a facility may be delayed, with this making it economically inefficient to build the facility earlier; on the other hand, since the plan must be approved every four years, it may be impossible to build certain facilities in such a short timeframe.
It is a live process that is continuously changing; that is why there are tools for updating it.
There are two ways to modify the plan: