Prysmian Cables & Systems, a leading worldwide player in the energy and telecommunications cables industry, has been awarded a contract worth in excess of € 90 million for a new electrical interconnection between France and Spain. The link will be realised for INELFE, a 50:50 joint venture between the Spanish grid operator, Red Electrica de España (REE), and the French grid operator Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE).
The new line, classified as a Priority Project by the European Union, will substantially increase the transmission capacity between France and Spain, thus improving diversification of sources and security of supply, as well as enhancing electricity market integration in South-West Europe. For Spain in particular, the project will make the grid system more stable and, therefore, facilitate the use of renewable energy.
The project comprises of a 320 kV extruded HVDC underground cable turnkey system that includes the engineering, production and installation of two 1,000 MW bipolar circuits along a 64 km land route (8.6 km of which in a purpose-built tunnel across the Pyrenees), between the substations in Baixas (near Perpignan, in France) and Santa Llogaia (near Figueres, in Spain), for a total of 252 km cables. The overall transmission capacity of 2,000 MW is a world record for underground interconnections, as it is the highest direct current voltage level ever reached with cables using extruded technology.
The project is scheduled to start construction mid of 2011, with completion due by mid 2014. Prysmian will manufacture the cables at its plant in Gron, France, and will install them together with a data transmission system that uses its own optical fibre and highly specialized splicers.
The project further confirms Prysmian's worldwide leadership in the strategic high value-added sector of high voltage energy cables and systems. The Group, which is currently involved in some of the world's most important projects to develop power transmission networks, has recently been awarded a contract for a turnkey 400 kV power transmission link by the Abu Dhabi Transmission and Dispatch Company (TRANSCO).
Prysmian's strong commitment to support the development of smarter and greener power grids is confirmed by its recent membership of "Friends of the Super Grid", a representative body aimed at promoting the construction of a Pan-European supergrid for the exploitation of "clean" energy. Prysmian is also part of the Medgrid project to bring solar energy from North Africa to Europe.