Majorca and the Iberian Peninsula are now electrically connected. Thanks to the commissioning of the Rómulo project, the submarine electricity interconnection between Sagunto (Valencia) and Santa Ponsa (Majorca), the exchange of electricity between the archipelago, specifically the islands of Majorca and Menorca, and the Spanish Peninsula, has been carried out in an alternative manner over the last few weeks.
Now a period begins during which the interconnection will be partially operational to verify that the control and protection functions are operating correctly. Once this period is over, the infrastructure will be inaugurated and the submarine cable will always remain active by means of an operational programme adapted to the demand of the Balearic Islands' electricity system.
The commissioning of Rómulo comes as a result of the completion of the works associated to the different infrastructures of the submarine interconnection carried out in 2011, and after having passed the corresponding technical tests and having made the necessary changes to the configuration of the Balearic's transmission grid. In this way, the system is no longer isolated and is now a part of the peninsular and continental systems, with all the benefits associated to that, such as the reliability and security of supply.
The Rómulo Project began in 2007 once the different contracts for the construction of the link had been awarded. The interconnection comprises of three cables and during the first quarter of 2011, Red Eléctrica carried out the laying of these three cables which go from Santa Ponsa Bay (Majorca) to Sagunto (Valencia). This task was performed using the only two ships in the world specialised in this type of work, the Italian ship, Giulio Verne, and the Norwegian ship, Skagerrak.
Upon completion of the cable laying works and once the converter substations for transforming direct current into alternating current had been built at each end of the interconnection, all the infrastructures were submitted to revision and tests, and subsequently the technical receiving tests were performed at the interconnection end on the Balearic Islands by means of connection tests to the transmission grid of Majorca and to the Spanish peninsular electricity system.
Benefits for the Balearic Islands
The electricity interconnection between the Spanish Peninsula and the Balearic Islands will bring with it important benefits for the Balearic's electricity system due to the fact that it is an infrastructure of strategic nature that will provide the equivalent of 25% of the electricity consumed on the Islands, thereby increasing the security, quality and reliability of supply whilst guaranteeing the coverage of the electricity demand.
The Rómulo Project will allow competition in the Islands' generation market to be increased by making it possible to reduce the overall cost of electricity generation. The interconnection also has advantages from an environmental perspective as it will represent a savings in the amount of contaminant emissions released into the atmosphere, and the fact that the cable now represents a true alternative to the construction of new power stations in the Balearic Islands.