Today, the President of Reseau de Transport d’Electricite, Dominique Maillard, the President of Red Electrica de España, Jose Folgado, and the President of Inelfe, Carlos Collantes, inaugurated the works of the French side of the tunnel for the electrical interconnection between Spain and France
Today, the President of Reseau de Transport d’Electricite, Dominique Maillard, the President of Red Electrica de España, Jose Folgado, and the President of Inelfe, Carlos Collantes, inaugurated the works of the French side of the tunnel for the electrical interconnection between Spain and France. The start of the works of the TBM is a key moment in the construction of this power line, the first to be built between Spain and France for 30 years. The construction of the tunnel is expected to be completed at the end of 2013.
The Canigou TBM, which is 300 metres long, has a cutting head with a diameter of 4.3 metres and a length of 11.5 metres. So far, 150 metres of tunnel have been excavated in the Montesquieu area, as the necessary preparatory work before the TBM could begin to excavate the northern end of the tunnel.
Canigou thus joins efforts with its Spanish twin, Alberes, in order to excavate a tunnel 8.5 kilometres long and 3.5 metres in diameter under the Pyrenean massif of Alberas, linking La Junquera and Montesquieu des Alberes. The Spanish TBM started to work in early March 2012 from the southern end of the tunnel and has already excavated more than three kilometres.
The two TBMs have been specially designed and manufactured for this project by the German company Herrenknecht.
The new line, consisting of two 1,000 MW links, is a technological challenge and will join the towns of Santa Llogaia (near Figueras) and Baixas (near Perpignan) through a fully-underground route of 64.5 km. Due to its length and its special features, the line will use direct current, instead of using alternating current as do the electrical systems of Spain and France. Therefore, the project includes the construction of a converter station at each end of the link, in order to convert direct current into alternating current and vice versa. The commissioning of the electrical link is planned for late 2014.
The new link between Spain and France will promote the economic development of the border areas and will enhance the security of the supply. Furthermore, it will improve the exploitation of renewable energy sources and will contribute to the creation of the European electricity market.
The project has a budget of 700 million euros, has been declared of European interest and is funded by the European Union with up to € 225 million under the EEPR programme (European Energy Programme for Recovery). Inelfe, Reseau de Transport d’Electricite and Red Electrica de España have also signed a loan with the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the amount of 350 million euros.