Red Eléctrica de España has commissioned the Arkale phase shifter in the 220 kilovolt (kV) interconnection line between the substations of Arkale (Oyarzun, Guipúzcoa) and Argia (France), a key element in increasing the exchange capacity with Europe and the security of supply. This system, declared a Project of Common Interest by the European Union and commissioned on 30 June, has represented an investment of 20 million euros.
The device has been designed and configured according to Red Eléctrica specifications to fit the 220 kV Arkale-Argia line, making it unique in the world. It is a 220 kV and 550 megavolt ampere (MVA) phase-shifting transformer, whose dimensions are: 18.3 metres wide, 18.7 metres long and 6 metres tall. The total weight of the unit with all its components is over 900 tonnes.
The commissioning of the phase shifter will increase the security of supply and help reinforce international electricity exchanges with south-west Europe. This aspect is essential in order to take full advantage of renewable energy, create a Single Energy Market in Europe and for the economic development of Spain, as pointed out by Red Eléctrica’s Chairman, José Folgado, in his recent appearance before the Senate’s Committee of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda.
A phase shifter is a device that allows the voluntary modification of the parameters that regulate the electrical power flow through a line. It acts as a power limiter making it possible for part of the energy to be routed through another more decongested path. Although the Arkale phase shifter is unique in the world due to its characteristics, there is another similar one installed in the Spanish transmission grid in San Miguel de Salinas (Alicante) and there are plans to install a 400 kV, 1,270 MVA phase-shifting transformer in Galapagar (Madrid).
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