Red Eléctrica de España has begun environmental and geophysical research in the Bocaina Strait, between the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, for a new submarine electricity interconnection between the towns of Playa Blanca and Corralejo.
There is currently a 66 kilovolt (kV) submarine cable between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, which was put into service in 2005. It is 14.5 kilometres in length and transports electricity in alternating current at a voltage of 66 kV.
The strengthening of the interconnection with a new 132 kV link was approved by the Council of Ministers on 6 June and is essential for achieving a more stable and robust electricity system, moreover it promotes the sustainability of the electricity system that connects the islands.
The aim of these environmental and geophysical survey works is to study a section of coastline that is approximately 90 square kilometres in area, the equivalent of 9,000 football pitches, as well as the corresponding land areas up to the connecting substations, to detect areas of greater environmental quality and thus design a cable route that minimises the effects on the terrestrial and marine environment. This new link will also favour the integration of renewable energy into the electricity system of the islands.
Considering the remarkable richness in biodiversity that exists on both islands, amongst which noteworthy is the abundance of marine mammals, the planned geophysical research works are ambitious. Different types of seabed will be mapped; a high accuracy bathymetric mapping will be performed to determine the depths of the area; the currents, water quality and sediment will be studied along with the biological status of the existing flora and fauna communities, and a study of underwater acoustics will be performed to determine the possible effects on cetacean populations.
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