The Very-High Voltage connection through the Catalan Pyrenees will become operational by 2014

Red Eléctrica, the corporation that operates the electricity transmission system and electricity grid throughout Spain and the French company RTE start work this year. This key infrastructure will enable transporting solar power from Northern Africa to Central Europe.

CNA / Mireia Júlvez

June 28, 2011 03:56 PM

Girona (ACN).- According to Spanish and French forecasts, the Very-High Voltage interconnection through the Catalan Pyrenees will become operational by 2014. It is expected that work will begin at the end of 2011. The installing process and the tensioning of the line will be carried out by the end of 2013 and will come into service in 2014. The interconnection will allow for the “duplication of the exchange capacity of electricity between the two states in order to achieve 2,800 Megawatts”, according to the Spanish Ministry of Industry. The project is also included in EU priorities concerning the energy area. It will be a key infrastructure to bring electric power to Central Europe, originated in solar plants set in Northern Africa. Interconnection work will start at the end of this year. On the French side, 400,000 volts will be buried underground. This Very-High Voltage will cross the border through a tunnel, parallel to the High-Speed Railway.

The power line will run from the French Roussillon border and then cross the Pyrenees in a tunnel parallel to the High-Speed Railway and will be buried underground. According to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, the new line will “reinforce and secure electric supply” between the two states. The project expenses, construction and commissioning of the cross-border section of the Very High Voltage connection is the responsibility of Inelfe made up of Red Eléctrica and the French RTE, and will count on European funds.

Of the 700 million euro budget, Inelfe will receive a payout of up to 225 million euros from the European Union’s funds from the European Program for Energy Recovery (PEER). Moreover, funding from the European Investment Bank has been requested.

The announcement that the Very-High Voltage connection will become operational by 2014 if everything goes as planned was made in Madrid by the Minister of Industry Miguel Sebastian and French counterpart Eric Besson. During the meeting, both Ministers discussed the status of the project. The Ministry of Industry pointed out that “the project has the necessary administrative authorisations to be started”. Since early this year, France gave green light to the Declaration of Public Utility of the infrastructure.

In addition, the Spanish and French ministers have stressed that the aim of both states is to increase the interconnection to at least 4.000 megawatts. The ministers have accorded that this aim should be achieved “as soon as possible” and in any case before 2020.