Having more electricity exchange capacity with neighbouring countries available provides greater security of supply, increased efficiency and competition between neighbouring systems and a better integration of renewable energy.
In the case of the European electricity system, it is these interconnections which make it not only the largest but the most robust and secure system in the world. The importance of the electricity interconnections is even higher for peripheral countries such as Spain, for which this type of infrastructure becomes an essential element for the development of an adequate system that ensures its needs regarding supply, in terms of quantity and quality, both now and in the future.
International interconnections are the set of lines and substations that enable the exchange of energy between neighbouring countries and that bring with it a number of advantages within the countries that are interconnected.
Benefits of interconnections:
- They contribute to security of supply, providing support functions between neighbouring systems. Interconnections are the most significant instant backup for security of supply.
- They provide more stability and ensure the frequency of the interconnected systems.
- They provide a better use of renewable energy.
- They facilitate commercial energy exchanges, increasing competition by exploiting the differences in energy prices between interconnected electricity systems. Interconnections play a crucial role in the so-called Internal Energy Market in Europe (IEM), which seeks to integrate all of today’s existing markets in the EU into one single market.
Spain, an "electrical island"
The Spanish electricity system is interconnected with the Portuguese system (thus forming the Iberian electricity system) with North Africa, through Morocco, and with the Central European electricity system, through the French border.
At present, the Spanish electricity system does not reach the minimum level of interconnection recommended in Europe of at least 10% of the installed capacity. Therefore, the strengthening of our interconnections and, specifically, the new interconnection line with France is priority in the development of the transmission grid.
The commercial capacity (in Megawatts) shows in an indicative manner the most probable margins of exchange capacity between systems and represents the combination of the limitations detected by the corresponding operators of the exchanging systems.
The definite values will be established by Red Eléctrica in the day-ahead horizon.
You may consult the international exchange data regarding recent years in the Spanish Electricity System report that is published annually. You may also find provisional data corresponding to recent months in the Monthly Bulletin (only available in Spanish).