Assessment of the MAR project 2011-2014
Red Eléctrica has invested 105 million euros in the improvement and maintenance of the Canary Islands’ transmission grid

Red Eléctrica’s Deputy General Manager of the Management Division, Eva Pagán, today met with the Director General of Industry and Energy of the Canary Islands’ Government, María Antonia Moreno, to take stock of the progress the Company has made in improving the electricity infrastructure of the Canary Islands, in which it has invested 105 million euros since 2011. Of this total, 72 million euros correspond to the Improvement of Grid Assets (MAR) project and 33 million to the specific maintenance plan for the Islands.

The MAR project in the Canary Islands has a budget of 150 million euros and seeks to adapt the electricity transmission infrastructure, acquired by Red Eléctrica in 2010, to the quality standards of all the Company’s facilities on the Spanish peninsula, resolve the existing deficiencies in this infrastructure, and integrating these assets into the Company’s control systems, in order to ensure the security of electricity supply in the archipelago. In the first four years, 72 million euros have already been invested and 52% of the scheduled actions have been completed.

This improvement program has a maintenance plan associated to it that is adapted to the special characteristics of the Canary Islands’ electricity transmission grid and in which Red Eléctrica has invested 33 million euros in the same period.

The MAR project will be extended until 2017, as the lack of a well meshed transmission grid in the Canary Islands implies that the actions to be carried out sometimes need to be performed under live conditions and others with the facility out of service; tasks that can only be performed when the continuity and quality of supply is guaranteed. Moreover, in other cases, the execution of work is conditional on administrative permitting processes that can prolong the forecasted deadlines.

The results of the upgrade programme of the Canary Islands’ electricity transmission grid are reflected in improved security and quality of supply, as measured by the significant reduction in service interruption, both in terms of energy and average outage time.

Most noteworthy actions of the MAR Project in 2014

Last year, in Lanzarote 10 towers of the Mácher-Playa Blanca 66 kilovolt (kV) line were replaced and the insulator strings were replaced by others that respond better to the environmental characteristics and climate condition of the Canary Islands

These actions were especially complex due to fact that the work can only be carried out under live conditions given the current configuration of the electricity system in Lanzarote.

Since the beginning of the MAR project, Red Eléctrica has replaced 70 towers in Lanzarote of a total of 112 that make up the transmission grid of the island.

In Fuerteventura, 42 towers were replaced: 2 in the Corralejo-Playa Blanca line, 22 in the Salinas-Gran Tarajal line and 18 in the Gran Tarajal-Matas Blancas line. In addition, the insulators have been replaced.

With regard to Gran Canaria, 11 towers were replaced, 6 of which are shared by the Jinámar-Telde and Marzagán-Cinsa lines and another five at the exit of the Jinámar thermal power station, the latter towers shared be the Jinámar-Telde and Jinámar-Marzagán circuits. In this action, the conductor cables and the insulators were also replaced.

Due to the complex configuration of the transmission grid in the vicinity of Jinámar, part of the work had to be performed at night, owing to the fact that it was necessary to cut traffic on the GC1 and GC3 motorways.

One of the noteworthy actions during 2014 was the work carried out on the island of La Palma and which involved the integration and renovation of protective elements of the Guinchos-Valle 66 kV line, and that of a coupling bay in the Guinchos substation.

On the island of Tenerife, 3 towers were replaced at the exit point of the Granadilla power station which shares the Granadilla-Chayofa and Granadilla-Los Olivos 66 kV circuits, and the conductor cables and the insulators of the two circuits were also replaced..

In addition, a total of 930 insulators have been replaced in the Candelaria-Tagoro line, the Cuesta de la Villa-Tacoronte line, the Guajara-Dique del Este line and the Manuel Cruz-Dique del Este line.

Additionally, for the integration of assets into the control systems, Red Eléctrica is installing optical fibre in the Canary Islands’ grid and has used an innovative system in 14 km of the Cuesta Villa-Icod 1 line, as the structural design of its towers made it impossible to incorporate the grounding wire in which optical fibre is usually installed.

Thus, the conductor cable of one of the circuit phases has been replaced with new one, called OPPC (OPtical Phase Conductor), which has the optical fibre integrated. The new conductor can simultaneously transport electrical energy and allow the substations to communicate with each other and with the control centres. This solution has the main advantage of not increasing the mechanical load of the line.

The MAR project works include, amongst other actions, the cleaning up of the safety corridors for the lines; repair and improvement of accesses to the towers; installation of transmission line identification markers, and the placement and adaptation of protective measures to prevent access to frequented towers.


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