The Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge has given the green light to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the Spain-North Portugal Interconnection, an essential step for the final authorisation of this priority project for the European Union and one which is binding for Red Eléctrica de España (REE). This new infrastructure, which will increase the electricity exchange capacity between the two countries, has been included in the 2021-2026 Electricity Transmission Grid Planning, recently approved by the Spanish Government, and declared a Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Union, as it is considered crucial to increase connectivity and make progress in the driving the change in the European energy model.
With an investment of 55 million euros, the new cross-border connection will strengthen the reliability and guarantee of supply on both sides of the border, increasing the exchange capacity by around 1,000 MW, reaching a total of 4,200 MW from Spain to Portugal and 3,500 MW from Portugal to Spain. In addition, the facility will generate estimated annual savings of 22 million euros for the electricity system and will lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 150 kt (kilo-tonnes) per year. This future interconnection will also increase the use and integration of renewable energy (239 GWh/year) in the territory, favouring its economic and sustainable growth, and contributing to the fulfilment of the goals of Spain’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) and the commitments undertaken with the European Union.
The project, which has been designed by choosing the most suitable route from a social, environmental and technical point of view, is the result of an analysis and consultation process with stakeholders and citizens in the territory as well as with the various public administrations involved. The cross-border connection point between the municipalities of Arbo (Pontevedra) and Monçäo (Viana do Castelo) has been established in agreement with those responsible for the project in Portugal (REN). In this way, the new link will connect the electricity systems of Spain and Portugal through the provinces of Ourense and Pontevedra in Spain and the district of Viana do Castelo in Portugal.
The project involves the construction, on the Spanish side, of the 400 kV Bearíz and the 400/220 kV Fontefría substations, and two new 400 kV lines, a 30 km long connection line between the two substations, and the 21.7 km long interconnection line between Fontefría and the Portuguese border. For its part, the Portuguese section, with an approximate length of 66 km, continues from the point where it crosses the border up to the Ponte de Lima substation.
Red Eléctrica continues to work with the relevant administrations to obtain the pending administrative authorisations and permits, which are required for the commencement of construction works.