In Bilbao today, Red Eléctrica de España has concluded the public consultation and participation phase regarding the submarine electricity interconnection project between Spain and France across the Bay of Biscay. The closing event, which was inaugurated by the Government’s Deputy Delegate in Bizkaia, Covadonga Aldamiz-echevarría, included an assessment of how this process was managed and carried out in Spain; the first process of this kind to be conducted in Spain for a project of these characteristics.
Dominique Millan, representative of Réseau de Transport d'Électricité, the company responsible for the project on the French side, also took part in the closing session, where he explained how this phase had progressed in France. Representing Red Eléctrica were, among others, the Manager of Construction Area, Andrés Cadenas; the project director, Juan Prieto, and the Regional Delegate, Antonio González, who all highlighted the high level of involvement of all entities, organisations and people who have collaborated on the process.
The event was held in accordance with European requirements regarding public participation process in the initial processing phase of European energy infrastructure and during which Red Eléctrica has transparently provided all possible information to all interested parties and has established communication channels at all levels.
The participation of all stakeholders in this phase is essential for the development of the project, which will receive a grant of €578 million, the largest Connecting Europe Facility-Energy grant ever awarded / the largest electricity interconnection grant ever awarded, as it is considered strategic by the European Union.
Public consultation and participation phase
Since this public consultation and participation period began on 21 September, Red Eléctrica has held a total of 14 meetings, 7 of which have been technical sessions with experts, fishermen’s guilds, scientists, universities, etc., and 7 informative talks for residents of the municipalities of Laukiz, Maruri-Jatabe, Mungia, Lemoiz, Bakio and Gatika, towns that also had information booths. In total, more than 700 people attended these informative sessions.
During this public participation process phase, approximately 1,300 people submitted consultations, suggestions and other concerns in writing which were analysed by Red Eléctrica and responded to from a technical and environmental point of view.
The need and justification for the project, the location of the future converter station, the electromagnetic fields or the visual impact of the infrastructure and facilities have been some of the topics that have aroused the interest of the public.
In addition, throughout this closing session it was highlighted that several citizen communication channels have been made available during this phase by means of the following: a specific website associated to the project, the dissemination of documentation and the installation of information booths for consultation and the collection of suggestions.
Having completed this phase, Red Eléctrica will begin drafting the environmental impact study and defining the execution project for its subsequent permitting process, a phase that also includes a public information and consultation process.
The interconnection project across the Bay of Biscay
Declared a Project of Common Interest by the European Commission and by the European Parliament in October 2013, this submarine interconnection will strengthen the electricity interconnection with Europe, increasing the commercial exchange capacity with France up to 5,000 megawatts (MW). In addition, a greater electricity interconnection with countries of the rest of Europe will enable a better integration of renewable energies and an increase in the efficiency of interconnected systems.
The interconnection between Gatika (Spain) and Cubnezais (France), north of Bordeaux, that will link the Spanish and French transmission grids will be 370 kilometres in length and will consist of four cables, two per link, in direct current with a transmission capacity of 2,000 MW. The length of the submarine section will be approximately 280 kilometres, while the land section will be 10 kilometres in Spain and 80 kilometres in France.
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