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EU to back France-Spain interconnector with EUR-578m CEF grant

View of the converter station for the Baixas-Santa Llogaia electricity interconnection. Author: Lionel Roux

January 25 (Renewables Now) - EU member states today approved a proposal by the European Commission (EC) to invest EUR 873 million (USD 1.09bn) in 17 electricity and gas projects, including a France-Spain power link that will help integrate more renewables.

Most of the financing, EUR 578 million to be exact, will be directed towards the construction of the Biscay Gulf France-Spain interconnection -- a new link that will increase the interconnection capacity between both countries from 2,800 MW to 5,000 MW. This project is “an important step towards ending the isolation of the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of the European energy market,” said Miguel Arias Canete, commissioner for climate action and energy. Moreover, it will enable an enhanced incorporation of renewable energies.

The Biscay Gulf France-Spain interconnection will be developed by the national grid management companies of Spain and France, namely Red Electrica de Espaaa (REE) and Reseau Transport d’Electricite (RTE). Their join company INELFE established the electricity interconnection between Baixas in France and Santa Llogaia in Spain. It entered operation in 2015, thus bringing the two countries' interconnection capacity to the current 2,800 MW.

As per the other schemes selected for EU backing, the SuedOstLink energy infrastructure project in Germany will get EUR 70 million for activities that will push the scheme to its construction phase. About 580 km of high-voltage cables will be laid underground to create a link between wind farms in the northern part of the country and the consumption centres in the south.

Overall, the EU member states have agreed on financing for eight projects in the electricity sector and nine in the gas sector, with 13 schemes to receive funds for studies. All of the 17 selected projects can be found here.

"These are important projects with major cross-border benefits and by implementing them we strengthen energy resilience of EU Member States,” said Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic.

The funding for the selected schemes will be provided under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a support programme for trans-European infrastructure. The support for the Biscay Gulf France-Spain interconnection represents the largest CEF energy grant ever awarded, according to the announcement.

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.248)

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