Pact between Spain and France to promote their electricity and hydrogen interconnections

Spain and France They have a historic energy interconnection deficit and now both countries are beginning to lay the foundations to try to at least alleviate that problem. The Spanish and French Governments have agreed activate a bilateral commission to promote the construction of two new electrical connections across the Pyrenees and to directly address technical and financial aspects of the future submarine corridor to transport green hydrogen between both countries.

The vIcepresident and Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Riberaheld a meeting this Tuesday in Paris with the French Ministers of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, and the Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Christophe Béchu, from which a “fundamental agreement” has emerged to promote energy interconnections between both countries, it has been stated The shared “firm will” to strengthen interconnections has been expressed and a common objective has been agreed to “immediately convene” bilateral ministerial groups to advance both electrical connections and green hydrogen.

Spain, France and Portugal agreed to promote the first major hydrogen corridor in the European Union and later also added Germany to the initiative. A pharaonic project, called H2Med and with planned investments of almost 2.5 billion euros, which aims to be key to supporting the renewable hydrogen revolution to replace natural gas in economic sectors that find it difficult or impossible to electrify.

Until now, gas transportation operators from all countries (Enagás, in the Spanish case) have worked on the technical aspects to design the pipeline layouts and specify the total cost of the project, which will be partially financed with European funds. Enagás estimated the cost of the infrastructure that will be on Spanish soil at 1,000 million euros, but it remains to be determined the exact distribution among all the countries participating in the project of the necessary investments and the financing formula also by the consumers of the hydrogen in the infrastructures. The bilateral commission between the Spanish and French governments will address this matter directly.

Three electrical interconnections

Madrid and Paris will also seek to promote essential electrical interconnections between both countries. Spain suffers a colossal interconnection deficit with France, especially in electricity, with the capacity to only transport between the two countries the equivalent of 2.8% of Spanish electrical power, currently less than 3,000 MW. Both countries have designed the implementation of three new interconnections, which are accumulating enormous delays and which have been especially met with the reluctance of France to promote them in recent years.

Spain and France have achieved unblock the construction of a new connection through the Bay of Biscay which will increase the interconnection to 5,000 MW with the aim of it being operational in 2028 and with investments of 2,800 million, the distribution of which between both countries has already been agreed. Now they are pending promote two other interconnections through the Pyrenees, for Navarra and Aragon, to have them ready in 2030.

The bilateral commission announced this Tuesday by Teresa Ribera must now seek to advance in the design of the routes of both connections and also in the distribution of costs. The managers of the electricity transmission networks of the two countries (Red Eléctrica, in the case of Spain) already have projects underway, but the Governments now intend to adjust and approve the best alternatives and the calendar.

The very low electrical interconnection between Spain and France remains below 3% of energy (with 2,800 MW), despite the fact that the community objective was to reach 10% in 2020 and 15% in 2030. It is planned to be operational in 2028. a new submarine connection through the Bay of Biscay, reaching 5,000 MW, and with the other two connections scheduled for 2030 through Navarra and Aragón, the interconnection will increase to 8,000 MW. So even with the three interconnections the minimum required by the EU will not be reached and Spain will continue to be considered an energy island. And those 8,000 MW of planned connection represent just under 7% of the current installed power in Spain.

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