France and Spain will work on the implementation two new electrical interconnections through the Pyreneesto join the submarine line being built through the Bay of Biscay, the Spanish Minister of Ecological Transition explained this Friday, Theresa Rivera. After a meeting in Paris with his French colleague, Agnes Pannier-Runacherand with the Head of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le MaireIn statements to the press, Ribera explained that he had discussed with them the change in France’s position, which now wants to “get more involved in electrical interconnections”.
Specifically, it is primarily about completion of the new submarine cable through the Bay of Biscay, which should enter service in 2027 and practically double the current power exchange capacity to leave them inside 5000 megawatts. But above all let’s see “how we can speed up the presentation of new projects for the two ongoing Transpyrenean interconnections”. the Spanish minister he did not want to give any deadline for that formalization. He tried to point out the inflection that the commitment of the French president took on this issue yesterday in Brussels, Emmanuel Macronbefore the leaders of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchezand Portugal, Antonio Costa. In this regard, he reminded that the strengthening of electrical connections “is a constant battle between Spain and France. That was a classic“.
Ribera felt that Macron understood Spain’s arguments against his stance in recent weeks it is important to build a green infrastructure for hydrogen transport (produced by renewable energy) between European countries, instead of only new electrical interconnections for the transmission of electricity from renewable sources. The reason is that in the transmission of electricity over long distances, an important part of the current is lost, something that this does not happen with hydrogen. Ribera also discussed with the French ministers how to coordinate with regard to the upcoming European negotiations, and especially with regard to the EU Council of Energy Ministers next Tuesday, where the European Commission’s proposals for reducing energy prices will be discussed.
They intend to extend the “Iberian exception”
Spain and France agree on the idea of extend the so-called “Iberian exception” to the entire EU which sets the upper limits of gas prices for the production of electricity, which they opposed until yesterday Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. These three countries, who feared, among other things, that these limits could worsen gas supply problems in the medium term and generate indirect subsidies for electricity exported outside the EU (especially to the United Kingdom or the Balkan countries).they agreed to talk on the basis of new proposals from Brussels.
Asked about the statements of the leader of the opposition, Alberto Núñez Feijo, that the “Iberian exception” costs Spain, which finances French consumers by exporting electricity to that country, Ribera disqualified some words that seem to him “perfectly messed up”. “I have no problem explaining to Mr. Núñez Feijoo how the Iberian mechanism works, why it is important and what the advantages are,” he commented with irony mixed with anger.
The minister admitted that the gas used in Spain to generate electricity has increased, but yes mainly due to drought, which has reduced the contribution of hydropower plants in Spain and France, which must be supplied by combined cycle power plants. This is also a consequence, but to a lesser extent shutdown of many cogeneration plants that they stopped working when the price of gas skyrocketed, and strong export of electricity to Francewhich has a significant portion of its fleet of nuclear power plants shut down for maintenance and several discovered deficiencies.
Finally, since the beginning of the year, Spain has been exporting to France almost as much electricity as the current interconnections allow, and also a significant part of Portugal’s needs (between 20 and 35%, according to Ribera), because that country is suffering from a severe drought that prevents it from producing hydroelectricity . “Spain – emphasized the minister – acts as a state that guarantees the supply of electricity from neighboring Portugal and from neighboring France (…). I think it would be a big mistake to say that we will leave our Portuguese and French neighbors to their fate,” he emphasized.