EBR Staff Writer Published 26 January 2018
The European Commission has granted €578m ($714m) loan for the Biscay Gulf France-Spain interconnection, a power link to transfer excess Spanish renewable energy to France.
Said to be the EU’s largest ever grant for energy infrastructure, the funding will be used for the construction of the 370km Franco-Spanish subsea power cable across the Bay of Biscay, west of the Pyrenees mountain range.
Estimated to cost €1.7bn, the interconnector project is expected to double the current exchange capacity to 5,000MW, thus increasing the security, stability and quality of electricity supply between the two countries.
Planned to be commissioned in 2025, the project will be owned and operated by Inelfe, which is equally and jointly owned by the transmission companies of Spain and France, Red Eléctrica de España and Réseau de Transport d’Électricité, respectively.
The funding for the project is a part of €873m grant approved by the European Commission for the energy infrastructure projects to help Europe to transition to a clean and modern economy.
The EC’s total investment grant, which has now been approved by the EU Member States, will support the development of 17 selected electricity and gas projects, in total.
European Commission vice-president for Energy Union Maroš Šefcovic said: “Once more we demonstrate that cooperation and solidarity pays off and that the Energy Union is becoming a reality with tangible impact on the ground.
“These are important projects with major cross-border benefits and by implementing them we strengthen energy resilience of EU Member States.”
Eight projects in the electricity sector will receive €680m EU funding support, while nine projects in the gas sector will be granted €193m EU support.
As part of the funding, SuedOstLink, one of the largest German energy infrastructure projects that consists of 580km of high-voltage cables laid fully underground, will receive €70m for activities to enable the construction works to begin
The Commission said that the investment will contribute in making the European energy system more competitive, thus delivering cheaper and secure energy to all European consumers.
The funding will come from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the European support program for trans-European infrastructure.
Image: The new interconnector project will transfer excess Spanish renewable energy to France. Photo: courtesy of Jearayuth/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.