Red Eléctrica, the Spanish electricity grid operator, and ECOncrete, an innovative company which provides concrete technology that enhances marine biodiversity, have demonstrated the environmental benefits of this innovative solution. These are the results of the case study on the ecological impact of its sub-sea electricity cable connecting the islands Lanzarote and Fuerteventura that is being presented these days at the WindEurope 2023 Annual Event.
Red Eléctrica’s sub-sea cable between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura is protected by ECOncrete’s revolutionary bio-enhancing concrete technology, a tailor-made ecological concrete solution to protect the infrastructure along its underwater trench. This is a project aimed at promoting the integration of this type of infrastructure in the environment and its positive impact on the environment.
Findings collected on camera by professional divers are remarkable: Marine life is thriving along the route and the cable protection has merged with the natural marine habitat, to the extent that the installation is in most parts invisible to the naked eye. Various species of fish, algae, sponges, crustaceans, molluscs and sea urchins have already adopted the structure as their habitat, presenting a clear ecological uplift in compression to standard systems.
Red Eléctrica worked with ECOncrete to develop and deploy a bespoke ecological concrete solution for protecting the cable along its sub-sea trench. ECOncrete designed and delivered bioenhancing concrete system to address Red Eléctrica's challenge to cap the cable trench in the rocky seabed between the islands. This required a technology capable of not only protecting the cable but also the local marine ecosystem and its biodiversity. An action that is in line with the policy of positive impact on the environment carried out by Red Eléctrica in the development of all its infrastructures.
ECOncrete CEO and Co-Founder, Dr. Ido Sella, said: “This project demonstrates the ability to bridge sustainability and development with responsible and accountable construction. As a marine biologist, seeing these findings made me more optimistic about the shift in the industry priorities and its recognition of marine ecosystems importance. ECOncrete's technology allows coastal and offshore infrastructure to support biodiversity and other ecosystem services, and all of us at ECOncrete and Red Eléctrica are thrilled with the results.”
Red Eléctrica Manager of Licences and Environmental Management Area, Luis Velasco, highlighted the double benefit provided by the infrastructure developed by the Company: “This new sub-sea cable has not only allowed us to expand the quantity of renewable energy on the islands, as part of the road to net zero, but has also enhanced the marine environment around the islands too. A real win-win.”
Red Eléctrica has invested 36 million euros in this 14.5 km sub-sea cable, running at a maximum depth of 80 metres, and two land-based underground cable sections of 1.8 km on Lanzarote and 645 metres on Fuerteventura. The cable reinforces an existing one at 66 kV, increasing the robustness and flexibility of the electrical system on both islands.