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:
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.
Projects included in the 2019 PCI list in which Red Eléctrica is involved are discussed below in greater detail:
The following projects on the Spanish-French border have been declared as PCIs:
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.
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.
The following project on the Spanish-Portuguese border has been declared as a PCI:
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.