French and Spanish power grid operators have commissioned a long-awaited underground high-voltage cable across the Pyrenees that will enhance the supply security of both countries and will allow Spain to exports its excess of renewable electricity, easing one of the worst network bottlenecks in Europe.
EDF, a branch of the French Utility RTE and Spain’s Red Electrica are expected to launch the 1,400-megawatt (MW) power link that will double French-Spanish interconnection capacity to 2,800 MW, equivalent to the output of three nuclear plants. The 65-km (40-mile) link in the eastern Pyrenees will be the longest underground high-voltage cable in the world and will cost 700 million euros ($794 million), keeping the pristine eastern Pyrenees mountain range free of power pylons.
Spain, which has implemented a major renewable energy development program in recent years, has 102 GW of electricity generation capacity installed, nearly 30 GW of wind and solar capacity and about 20 GW of hydropower capacity. The new power link should lead to better exploit the differences in consumption between France and Spain, where peaks are reached around 19h and 21h, respectively, to a level of 40 GW in Spain against more than double in France.