Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) are energy infrastructure projects that are necessary for the development of priority corridors or areas in the European Union. Any project declared as a project of common interest grants it a priority and strategic status, which means that it is eligible for certain benefits in order to speed up the implementation and commissioning process of the project. These types of projects benefit from improved regulatory conditions, simplified permitting processes and a greater level of public participation through public consultations, lower administrative costs, the possibility of receiving grants to conduct studies and, in exceptional cases, for construction work, while also allowing for the possibility of special financing under what is known as the “Connecting Europe Facility”.
The European Union’s list of PCIs is updated every two years, and is based solely on the latest TYNDP (Ten-Year European Transmission Network Development Plan) published by ENTSO-E.
To date, four lists of PCIs have been published:
- October 2103: The first list, established by EU Regulation 1391/2013 in October 2013, included four projects affecting Red Eléctrica de España.
- January 2016: The second list, established by EU Regulation 89/2016 in January 2016 had six projects affecting Red Eléctrica de España. In the selection process, priority was given for the first time to those projects that allowed member states to achieve the 10% interconnection target by 2020.
- November 2017: The third list, established in the EU Delegated Regulation 2018/540 in November 2017 had four projects in which Red Eléctrica was involved.
- October 2019: The Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/389 of 31 October 2019 published the fourth list of PICs and which came into force on 31 March 2020. 149 projects were included in the list: 100 for electricity (transmission and energy storage), 6 for smart grids, 32 for gas, 6 for oil and 5 for CO2 networks. The list is divided into 12 priority corridors and areas.
As far as Spain is concerned, the electricity PCIs are included in Group 2, ‘priority corridor for electricity interconnections on the north-south axis of Western Europe (NSI West Electricity)’. The PCIs included in Group 2 affecting Spain are:
- Interconnection between Aquitaine (FR) and the Basque Country (ES) (Bay of Biscay project).
- Interconnection between Aragon (ES) and Western Pyrenees (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) (FR).
- Interconnection between Navarre (ES) and Landes (FR).
- Interconnection Portugal - Spain, between Beariz - Fontefría (ES), Fontefria (ES) - Ponte de Lima (P) and Ponte de Lima - Vila Nova de Famalicão (P), including substations in Beariz (ES), Fontefría (ES) and Ponte de Lima (P).
- Electricity storage through pumped-storage hydroelectric power in Navaleo (ES).
- Electricity storage through pumped-storage hydroelectric power in Girones and Raïmats (ES).
- Electricity storage through pumped-storage hydroelectric power in Cúa (ES).
Red Eléctrica de España is involved in the four interconnection projects.
As part of the information related to transparency of the European Commission, a map can be found with the layout of the routes of the PCIs and other electricity transmission-related PCIs, as well as detailed individual fact sheets on each project.
List of Projects of Common Interest in which Red Eléctrica is involved
Projects included in the 2019 PCI list in which Red Eléctrica is involved are discussed below in greater detail:
Projects on the Spanish-French border
The following projects on the Spanish-French border have been declared as PCIs:
Bay of Biscay Project.
PCI 2.7 France-Spain interconnection project between Aquitaine (France) and the Basque Country (Spain).
After analysing the various alternatives for reinforcing the connection between Spain and France, the joint analysis between RTE and Red Eléctrica concluded that the most suitable project for bolstering cross-border connections was a new interconnection between the Basque Country and the French region of Aquitaine, consisting of a 2x1000 MW Direct Current link connection, mostly subsea (submarine). This project, called the ‘Bay of Biscay’, will increase the exchange capacity between Spain and France to 5,000 MW. This project is currently in the study and public participation phase and is expected to be commissioned by 2026-2027.
In addition to being a PIC, this project is also classified under the “Electricity Highways” category, which implies that it has long-term strategic usefulness.
Projects through the central Pyrenees.
- 2.27.1 Interconnection between Aragon (ES) and the Western Pyrenees (FR)
- 2.27.2 Interconnection between Navarra (ES) and Landes (FR)
These two projects consider two new interconnections between Spain and France through the Pyrenees, proposed in the ‘Madrid Declaration’ of March 2015, that aim to increase the exchange capacity between Spain and France to 8000 MW.
These projects are currently in the definition phase and are expected to be commissioned in the 2029-2030 horizon.
Project on the Spanish-Portuguese border
The following project on the Spanish-Portuguese border has been declared as a PCI:
Northern Spain-Portugal Interconnection.
PCI Project 2.17 Spain-Portugal interconnection between Beariz-Fontefría (ES), Fontefría (ES)-Ponte de Lima (PT) - formerly Vila Fría / Viana do Castelo - and Ponte de Lima-Vila de Famaliçao (PT) -formerly Vila do Conde.
This project is a conventional 400-kV overhead project that will connect Galicia with the Portuguese region of Minho and will enable the exchange capacity between Spain and Portugal to be increased and to meet the goal established by the government to achieve the complete integration of the Iberian Electricity Market. In addition, this interconnection will improve the integration of renewables on the Iberian Peninsula.
This project is currently in the permitting process and is expected to be commissioned in the 2022 horizon.
All projects classified as PCIs are included in the current national planning (2015-2020 Electricity Transmission Grid Development Plan), either in Annex I on Electricity Infrastructure for the period 2015-2020 or in Annex II on Post-2020 Actions.