- The ceremony, chaired by the Third Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, was attended by the President of the Government of the Balearic Islands, Francina Armengol, and the Chairwoman of Redeia, Beatriz Corredor, as well as by authorities of the councils of the Balearic Islands and other local dignitaries and representatives.
- The new link will substantially strengthen the quality and security of the electricity supply, will enable 100% coverage of the demand on Formentera and will accelerate the energy transition in the Balearic Islands.
- The next phase of the project entails providing additional protection measures and cable anchoring systems for the marine infrastructure.
Red Eléctrica, the Redeia company responsible for electricity transmission and the operation of the national electricity system, has successfully completed the cable laying phase of the new underwater electricity link between Ibiza and Formentera. This new interconnection consists of an underwater 132 kV double circuit link circuit between the islands of Ibiza and Formentera, which will connect the Torrent substation, in Santa Eulària des Riu, and a new substation built in Formentera, in the Es Ca Marí industrial area.
The Third Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, has today presided over the ceremony that marks the completion of the subsea cable laying work, together with the President of the Regional Government of the Balearic Islands, Francina Armengol, and the Chairwoman of Redeia, Beatriz Corredor. The event, which took place at the headquarters of the Port Authority of the Balearic Islands in the port of Ibiza, was also attended by the President of the Island Council of Ibiza, Vicent Marí; the President of the Island Council of Formentera, Ana Juan, along with other dignitaries and institutional representatives of the island and local authorities.
The Third Vice-President, Teresa Ribera, highlighted the Government's determination to accelerate the green transition in the Balearic Islands: “we are making a major effort to ensure that the entire Balearic Islands has access to renewable energy, therefore, in addition to the existing interconnections between the islands and the mainland, today we add an important inter-island link between Ibiza and Formentera that will strengthen the island systems. Furthermore, it will not only enable the integration of much more renewable energy and provide more stability to the system, but it will allow the decommissioning of obsolete and polluting fossil fuel power stations”. She also highlighted the investment earmarked for the Balearic Islands in the 2021-2026 Transmission Grid Planning, in which “the Balearic Islands is the first recipient of funds with more than 17% of the total amount allocated by the State”.
Francina Armengol, President of the Regional Government of the Balearic Islands, has assured that the new infrastructure is “very good news because it completely guarantees the electricity demand in a stable and safe way” and because “it helps us move forward along the path we have started to become islands free of fossil fuels and 100% renewable”. In this regard, the President recalled previous initiatives promoted by the regional government of the Balearic Islands, such as the waste law, the climate change law or a new tourism law that introduces circularity in the main industry of the islands to continue advancing in the energy transition.
The Chairwoman of Redeia, Beatriz Corredor, stressed that this project “marks a before and after for the electricity supply in Formentera and for the advancement of the green transition of the archipelago”. She also pointed out that, in regard to how the project has been developed, “Red Eléctrica's top priority has been to make sure it is a sustainable project, respecting the environment and ensuring the landscape integration of the infrastructure, through dialogue and listening to the citizens and stakeholders in the territory”. Ms. Corredor indicated that “the Company is working in coordination with the pertinent local public administrations in order to bring the facility into service as soon as possible”.
The President of the Island Council of Ibiza, Vicente Marí, has expressed his gratitude to all the people affected “for the understanding they have shown all this time regarding the works that, like all works, have generated some inconveniences”, but he also indicated that this link is “an important improvement in the strategic infrastructure of our islands”. In this regard, the President recalled that “the commitment to the energy transition will allow us to promote new production, distribution and consumption energy models that are increasingly more sustainable and less polluting”.
For her part, the President of the Island Council of Formentera, Ana Juan, stressed that this interconnection "fulfils a historical demand that will guarantee and improve the electricity supply to the island and also, in the near future, will enable the decommissioning of the old substation of Es Ca Marí and will help the island move forward in a real energy transition".
Now that the cable laying works for the underwater section of the link, which had been ongoing since 4 January up until today, have been completed by the cable laying ship ‘Cable Enterprise’, a vessel belonging to the Prysmian Group (which was also visited by the authorities attending the event), the work will now focus on providing additional protection measures and cable anchoring systems for the subsea section of the link. At the same time, work will continue on the cable laying works currently underway for the land sections that run underground throughout the entire overland route and which will connect up the aforementioned substations located at each end of the link.
As for the connection points of this link at either end of this installation, the enlargement of the existing substation in Torrent has already been completed and the civil works for the new substation in Formentera, in the vicinity of Es Ca Marí, have also been completed and the installation and assembly of the substation equipment are currently underway.
The formal commissioning date for the new link is the end of 2023, although the good progress of the work carried out opens up the possibility of doing so in the second half of the year, always subject to the situation of geopolitical uncertainty and its effects on the supply chains.
Guarantee of supply
The new interconnection between the islands of Ibiza and Formentera will represent a giant leap in the guarantee of supply on both islands, especially in the latter (the smallest island), as it will enable 100% coverage of the demand at all times under safe conditions for the system, thus minimising the need for local generation and, therefore, reducing costs for the system and favouring the energy transition through the equivalent reduction of CO2 emissions.
The new submarine cable between Ibiza and Formentera is a three-core 132 kV HVAC double circuit link, with each circuit having a transmission capacity of 53 mega-volt amps (MVA).
The cable route, which has a total length of approximately 37.1 kilometres, includes a 27.1-kilometre underwater section as well as two land sections, 5.2 kilometres in Ibiza and 4.8 kilometres in Formentera, where the cable is buried underground. The underwater section of the cable will run along the seabed at a maximum depth of 58 metres. The overall budget for the link is €96 million.
Minimal environmental impact
Horizontal directional drilling was used for the sea-coast approach of the link and for its connection to the land section. A technique that allows the installation of an underground conduit that avoids land-based obstacles and guarantees a minimum environmental impact, safeguarding the Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows in the area and other phanerogams.
Horizontal directional drilling has been carried out in Sa Punta, located in Talamanca Bay (Ibiza), for a length of 732 metres, and in the area of Penyal des Vi, located between Punta Llarga and Punta Grossa (Formentera), for a length of 529 metres.
The simultaneous laying and protection of the submarine cables was carried out using dynamic positioning systems and remote-controlled vehicles that control and ensure the cable is properly laid and follows the planned route, and by applying techniques that ensure both the protection of the seabed environment as well as the integrity and safety of the infrastructure.