The European Commission has announced that it will contribute 578 million euros to support a submarine power interconnection project between France and Spain in the Bay of Biscay, the largest ever financial support for an energy project approved by the EU executive.
The Commission said it is a « priority of the Juncker Commission » to connect the Iberian peninsula with the rest of the continent as it will allow Spain to supply the European market with the surplus electricity produced by the renewable sources.
The interconnection, which will be 370 kilometres long, should allow almost double the capacity of exchange between the two countries, from 2,800 megawatts to 5,000 megawatts.
« The construction of the Biscay Gulf France-Spain interconnection marks an important step towards ending the isolation of the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of the European energy market, » Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said.
The EU executive wants at least 10 percent of the electricity produced by a state to be capable of being transported to one of its neighbours by 2020 and 15 percent by 2030. Spain currently has the capacity to transport 6 percent of its energy to a neighbour and the Bay of Biscay project bringing it much closer to meeting Brussels’ target.
The Commission has emphasised the importance of increasing the security of Europe’s energy supply with a view to ending its dependence on single suppliers and encouraging the uptake of renewable energy to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Brussels has selected a total of 17 projects to be funded out of the 873 million euro « Connecting Europe Facility. » Apart from the Spanish-French interconnector, the plan includes the SuedOstLink, a German project to transport wind power generated in the north of the country to the south, a potential gas link between Malta and Sicily and a 101 million euro natural gas project in Cyprus.
The Franco-Spanish interconnection is expected to come into service in 2025.