>@EIB/To be defined

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 175 million loan to Spanish power company Red Eléctrica de España (REE) representing the Spanish part of the finance for the Spain-France power interconnection, the first trans-European direct current link using innovative converter technology. The EIB undertook to finance this project to the tune of EUR 350 million in an agreement signed last October. The contract was signed in Madrid today by EIB Vice-President Magdalena Álvarez Arza and REE’s CEO, José Folgado.

The new line will connect the municipalities of Santa Llogaia (near Figueras) and Baixas (near Perpignan) and will be laid entirely underground in 64.5 km of trenches (31 km and Spain 33.5 km in France). The section crossing the Pyrenees will be laid in an 8.5 km tunnel alongside those of the Perpignan-Figueras high-speed rail line. The interconnection is scheduled to be brought into service in 2014.

The main purpose of this new interconnection is to double electricity exchange capacity between Spain and the rest of Europe (from 1 400 to 2 800 MW).

The project will improve the security of the electricity supply and especially increase the stability of the of the power system by enhancing integration with the European grid. At the same time, increasing interconnection capacity between France and Spain will strengthen the overall European grid and improve resistance to possible risks and incidents.

The total cost of the interconnection will be EUR 700 million, half of which provided by the EIB. The project is also receiving a EUR 225 million EU grant under the European Energy Programme for Recovery.