The Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Magdalena Álvarez, and the Chairman of Red Eléctrica de España, José Folgado, have today signed a loan for 175 million euros to finance the Spanish part of the Spain-France electricity interconnection, the first trans-European direct current link using innovative converter technology.
This loan meets the commitment made last October by the EIB to finance this project with 350 million euros granted to the two managers of the electricity transmission grid in Spain and France, Red Eléctrica de España and Réseau de Transport d'Électricité, respectively.
The new electricity interconnection, which is scheduled for 2014, will connect the municipalities of Santa Llogaia (near Figueras) and Baixas (near Perpignan) via a 64.5 km underground route (31 km in Spain and 33.5 in France ) and crossing the Pyrenees through a tunnel of 8.5 km in length. Its main objective is to double the energy exchange capacity between Spain and the rest of Europe increasing from 1,400 megawatts at present to 2,800.
The project will help improve the security of supply of the Spanish and French electricity systems, provide greater stability to the European electricity system, strengthen the supply to Gerona and promote the integration of renewable energy. Similarly, it will optimise the integration of the Iberian market into the European electricity market improving competitiveness, which in turn will impact positively on electricity prices in Europe.
The electricity interconnection, which has an allocated budget of just over 700 million euros, also receives a subsidy from the European Union amounting to 225 million under the framework of the EEPR programme (European Energy Programme for Recovery).
The European Investment Bank is the institution of long-term financing of the European Union whose shareholders are the Member States. The EIB provides long-term finance for viable investment projects with the aim of contributing to the achievement of the objectives of EU policy.
Red Eléctrica de España is the Spanish electricity system operator and the transmission system operator, whose role is to ensure the continuity and security of electricity supply.