Electricity Interconnection France-Spain (Inelfe), the joint venture of the Spanish (Red Eléctrica) and French (RTE) electricity transmission networks, awarded a major interconnection contract to Hitachi Energy.
The multinational company will supply four high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations to interconnect France and Spain via a subsea cable across the Biscay Gulf. The HVDC link will improve reliability in the region and allow for more renewable energy integration as well.
The Biscay Gulf interconnection, labeled as project of common interest (PCI) at the European level, will consist of two HVDC links, with a converter station at each end of both systems. Combined, the links will efficiently supply a total of 2,000 MW at 400 kV over 248 miles (400 km).
Providing the equivalent of the power consumption of more than two million average households, the transmission links will improve the safety, stability, and quality of the electricity supply between the two countries. Most of the link will be underwater, but a short section of the link cable route will return to land to avoid the deep Capbreton Canyon.
Inelfe (Interconexión Eléctrica Francia-España or Electricity Interconnection France-Spain) was set up following the 2008 Zaragoza Agreement, between the governments of Spain and France, with the mission to enhance the exchange of electricity between the two countries. The resulting infrastructure doubled the interconnection capacity between France and Spain from 1,400 MW to 2,800 MW today. With the Biscay Gulf interconnection, the capacity to exchange power will soon reach 5,000 MW.