Red Eléctrica de España will study and respond, in the shortest time possible, to all proposals and concerns regarding the Sur de Granada electricity axis as part of the public consultation and participation period, which was opened last October and will remain open until 7 March. From that point on, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development of the Regional Government of Andalusia will make a decision on the viability of the project by way of the Unified Environmental Authorisation.
The current route of the 220 kilovolt (kV) line planned for construction as part of the South of Granada electricity axis is the best proposal from an environmental and social point of view. This was determined after Red Eléctrica conducted several studies in which around 60 alternatives have been ruled out because their effects on the territory were deemed to be greater.
The project for the 220 kV Saleres-Benahadux line is a combination of new actions and the strengthening of the existing 220 kV grid in the area in order to guarantee the necessary support to the distribution network and enabling the connection of already existing renewable energy generation facilities, and that of future projects, to facilitate the energy transition and the fulfilment of the environmental commitments of the European Union. Thus, the new South of Granada electricity axis responds to the need to strengthen the electricity supply in the province and in Almeria, with an approach that will ensure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the area.
The project encompasses the construction of new 220 kilovolt (kV) line circuits (totalling 182 kilometres) that will include the El Fargue-Saleres sections, as well as the Saleres substation and two connections from the substation to the Gabias-Órgiva and Berja-Órgiva lines; additionally it entails a final section of line between Saleres and Benahadux (Almería).
Specifically, the Environmental Impact Study included as part of the information submitted to the public consultation and participation process until 7 March, represents the proposal that is best valued by the administration and official bodies based on social and environmental criteria as well as its impact on the sustainable development of the territory.
The procedure associated with the quest for the best alternative, a procedure used and improved by Red Eléctrica over the last 25 years, is aligned with the Company’s commitment to fulfil its role as sole transmission agent of the electricity transmission grid and to provide a service of the highest quality and efficiency while minimising the impact on the territory. In doing so, the Company carries out its projects rigorously respecting the cultural and historical heritage of the areas in which its facilities are to be located, something that has also been taken into account for the Sur de Granada electricity axis.
On this occasion, in order to assess the best alternative among the nearly 60 studied, a set of environmental and territorial aspects were compared objectively and quantitatively, such as fauna and natural habitats, population and urban or rural development or economic activities, among others. The comparative impact based on a quantitative scale serves for the selection of the best proposed alternative, giving rise to a technical proposal on which an in-depth Environmental Impact Study is carried out.
Thus, the proposal for the new infrastructure is the result of the technical and environmental studies carried out in the area since 2011 and which were conducted in close collaboration with the competent environmental administrations. Comments made by the administrations and groups consulted in the various phases already completed as part of the permitting process of the project have been taken into account when drafting the proposal.
Why is a project like this necessary in Granada?
With an estimated investment of around €105 million, the project for the 220 kV Saleres-Benahadux electricity line was conceived to respond to the need to strengthen the electricity transmission grid and to support the distribution network, thus increasing the security and quality of the electricity supply, in addition to providing support for the evacuation of renewable generation of generating facilities already in operation and of those that will be built in the future.
In addition, the project will facilitate access to the optical fibre installed as part of the electricity infrastructure, improving telecommunications networks; and will enable the Valle de Lecrín to have a modern, secure and reliable electricity grid. In short, the project will enable the socio-economic development of the region and will promote the well-being of people in a sustainable manner in the coming years.
In this regard, Red Eléctrica’s experience confirms that, far from signifying a decrease in the development of the territories where these projects are carried out, the strengthening of the electricity grid and the telecommunications network represents a boost to its progress.
All this infrastructure is included in the 2015-2020 Electricity Transmission Grid Development Planning drafted by the Ministry of Ecological Transition. As these are projects of general/public interest, they do not require any municipal authorisation, and it is the regional administration that is responsible for processing the administrative authorisation regarding the construction and environmental permits thereto.