Artà-Bessons electricity line, key to guarantee the electricity supply in the east of Majorca
The project, which is in the administrative proceedings stage, would increase the security of the Majorca-Menorca interconnection. 83% of the overhead route of the proposed line passes through agricultural areas and its route would not affect protected natural areas

Red Eléctrica de España (REE) considers the proposed new 220 kilovolt (kV) double-circuit overhead-underground Arta-Bessons line (Manacor) as the optimum choice to guarantee the security and efficiency of the electricity supply in the eastern area of the island, whilst minimising the risks and losses in the Majorca-Menorca submarine electricity interconnection, and furthermore paves the way for the planned second link between the two islands.

The proposal submitted to the regional administrations by REE and the choice of the route try to maximise the compatability of the technical requirements associated with the project and respect for the social, environmental and heritage factors of the area.

The project foresees a 220 kV Arta-Bessons double-circuit line with a length of 22.5 km, in its overhead section, and 1.4 km in its underground stretch; the latter of which runs through the municipality of Manacor. The line also passes through the municipalities of Sant Llorenç, Son Servera and Artà.

The proposal presented also includes enlarging the Artà 66/15 kV substation by adding two new switchyards of 220 and 132 kV, and the enlargement of the 220/132/66 kV Bessons substation in Manacor.

The project is in its administrative proceeding stage and is pending evaluation by the Balearic Islands’ Environmental Commission. REE, therefore, will address the measures and suggestions formulated during the administrative stage.

Ensuring and improving the electricity supply
At present, electricity demand in the area is supplied through the Bessons 220 kV substation, and on which the distribution substations in the area (Manacor, Artà, Capdepera and Cala Millor) and those of Can Picafort, Portocolom and Llucmajor depend on. The area is a nucleus of concentration of risk of outages and that poses a challenge regarding the operation and maintenance of the system. In addition, this line would minimise the need for future circuits and facilitate the exploitation of the area at 132 kV.

Red Eléctrica, as operator and sole transmission agent, is responsible, as set out by law, for guaranteeing supply and developing and expanding transmission grids to adapt existing facilities to the needs of the demand.

Environmental, heritage and social respect
REE has placed particular emphasis on ensuring that the distance of the route from housing exceeds that required by law. Additionally, the towers for the line are located outside the area of easement of torrents and, whenever possible alongside existing roads.

The Company also has assessed the impact of the line on the landscape and has prioritised that it run through agricultural areas, whereby 83% of its overhead section passes through farmland.

The route does not affect protected natural spaces or Natural Areas of Special Interest nor wildlife habitats of interest; it minimises the effects on the Rural Area of Scenic Interest of Calicant. The route that passes through areas with oak trees, it maintains the necessary clearance distance to avoid the need for felling.

It has also provided comprehensive documentation on the existing archaeological, architectural and heritage assets, in accordance with the heritage inventory of the Majorca Council (the Government of Majorca) drafted in collaboration with the Department of Island Culture and Heritage. Also archaeological surveys have been conducted throughout the area of the entire route and it was checked that no sites of Archaeological Interest will be affected

As for the actions proposed regarding forest fires, the project incorporates the decisions contained in the regional law in Decree 125/2007, which regulates the clearance distances and the safety corridor that need to be enabled throughout the route of the line.

Administrative proceedings started in 2010
These facilities are included in the state energy planning 2008-2016 for the Electricity and Gas Sectors approved on May 30, 2008, and in the Energy Sector Master Plan for the Balearic Islands in accordance with the twelfth regulation of Law 9/2011, of 23 December, of General Budgets of the Balearic Islands in 2012, amending Decree 96/2005, of 23 September, to approve the revision of the Energy Sector Master Plan of the Balearic Islands.

In June 2010, the prior consultation period regarding the Artà-Bessons line began between Red Eléctrica and the regional administration. The preliminary project was presented in June 2012, while the final construction project was processed in December 2012.

Its publication in the Official Gazette of the Balearic Islands on 20 April, 2013 opened the public consultation period, which ended on 15 May. The project is now in the phase for studying the concerns raised and is pending a decision, including that of the Balearic Islands’ Environmental Commission, of the regional administration.

In relation to the route foreseen in the 2008-2016 Plan for the Electricity and Gas Sectors and the Energy Sector Master Plan for the Balearic Islands, the current proposal of Red Eléctrica reduces the overhead section of line by 6 km and reduces the overhead lines by 31 km by changing single circuit to double circuit in throughout the whole area. The proposal substantially reduces the visual impact of the lines.