Minister of Industry, in appearance at his own request before the Committee on Industry of the Congress of Deputies, said that Spain will be “the main beneficiary of strong impetus” given by the EU to energy interconnections, in addition to allowing greater integration of renewables in the electricity system with lower support costs. “
Progress in ensuring security of supply, competitiveness and lower prices, are some of the objectives that the Minister Jose Manuel Soria considers will be achieved in addition to complying with the agreement of the European Council last October of getting 10% of connections by 2020.
Importance of the Madrid Summit
Soria also emphasized that the declaration of the summit on electrical interconnections held in Madrid last March, with the participation of the presidents of Spain, France and Portugal and the European Commission, is “a capital advance” to end the isolation of the Iberian Peninsula.
Currently there is an electricity interconnection between France and Spain of 2.8%, including the last opened between Santa Llogaia (Gerona) and Baixas (Perpignan), and as noted by Soria, with the project Bay of Biscay and the addition of two new power interconnection projects in Aragon and Navarra, 8% will be reached which will also provide “greater security, sustainability, competitiveness and lower prices,” to the electrical system.
For the Minister of Industry, interconnections will allow ending the “energy island” that Spain and Portugal are now, but for France “it means strengthening the south of the country,” which does not have the necessary infrastructure and such investments would have finished being passed onto the French consumer, so that financial aid from European funds will be required.
Security of gas supply
In regard to gas, Soria said that “we must eliminate the bottleneck which currently exists,” and that “it is necessary” to increase the level of gas interconnections of the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of the EU, since “its geographical position and its logistics structure, can contribute very significantly “to the security of supply in this respect across the EU.
The current interconnection capacity is 6 bcm (6,000 million cubic meters), which in the minister’s opinion, is clearly insufficient to export gas from Spain to the rest of Europe.
With Algeria as the main gas supplier, with more than 51% of the total -31.7 bcm in imports, Soria has defended the position of Spain “as an alternative” to supply gas to Europe based on its geographical diversification of supply and ” important “infrastructure of the gas system. In fact, in his opinion, “the diversification of suppliers will strengthen the negotiating capacity of European countries as well as ensuring the supply of gas.”
In this sense, he believes that with the two Maghreb pipelines, the underground storage available and the seven regasification plants of the Iberian Peninsula, up to half of the Russian gas flowing through Ukraine, amounting to about 35 or 40 bcm could be supplied.
In this regard, he noted that the crisis in Ukraine has been “a new wake-up call” for the EU as far as the security of gas supply is concerned. He has also announced that all these projects “have the European support and, to this end, a boost will be given to Euro-Mediterranean cooperation”.
High Level Regional Group
To carry out all these projects, the head of Industry has claimed that continuous monitoring of the evolution will be carried out by a Regional High Level Group, created by the EU, which in turn will provide technical assistance to member countries.
This High Level Group will serve to coordinate and improve the interconnection of South of Europe and will present its Action Plan around this summer.
In short, for Soria “interconnections will allow further development of renewables in Spain with lower costs of support technologies.”