President of Red Electrica de España, Jose Folgado, has upheld the role that electricity infrastructures have as a valuable catalyst for economy and its importance in encouraging a future economic growth. Folgado made these statements during the breakfast organized by the Cercle de Infrastructures and the Chamber of Commerce of Girona, where he also said that infrastructures are an “essential element for regional balance but also and above all, contribute significantly to increased competitiveness , economic growth, employment and sustainable development “.
According to Folgado a modern and competitive society can hardly be conceived without basic transport energy and telecommunications modern and developed infrastructures, that are consistent with the requirements and demands of a society increasingly dependent on these types of facilities.
Red Electrica invested 819 million euros in 2011, and commissioned 1,738 km of new power lines. Among these investments, the submarine interconnection line between the Peninsula and Balearic Islands is worth of mention due to its technical complexity and strategic value to the system. This means that today the country has one of the best equipped and operated electrical transmission networks in the world. The existing 36,000 kilometers of 400 and 220 kV constitute a meshed transmission network that ensures the power supply, despite of the major challenges that transport and system operators have to face each day as a result of the massive integration of renewable energy.
“Even so,” acknowledged Jose Folgado, “the greatest weakness of our network continues to reside in the limited interconnection capacity between the Peninsula and the rest of the European electrical system”. In this sense, the new interconnection line with France being built in the province of Girona, will entail an increase in exchange capacity from current 3% to 6%, still far from 10% recommended by the European Union. This means moving from the current 1,400 megawatts to 2,800 megawatts. This project, funded with 350 million Euros, is financed by the EIB, and granted to Spain and France by 50%.
The new interconnection link will ensure supply reliability in the most power-deficit regions, as Girona, which until now did not have a sufficiently developed meshed transport network. “The precarious situation of Girona has radically changed with the commissioning of new electrical installations -Bescanó substation and the line connecting this substation with Senmenat substation-and will continue to change,” said Jose Folgado, “even more when the new stretch to Santa Llogaia enters into operation “.