The EU will grant €578 Million ($714 million) for construction of the Biscay Gulf France-Spain interconnection. The funding will come from the Connecting Europe Facility, the European support program for trans-European infrastructure. The grant is the largest Connecting Europe Facility-Energy grant ever awarded
The project will be owned and operated by Inelfe, which is owned by the transmission companies of Spain and France, Red Eléctrica de España and Réseau de Transport d'Électricité,
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, said, "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. Only a fully interconnected market will improve Europe's security of supply, reducing the dependence of single suppliers and giving consumers more choice. An energy infrastructure which is fit for purpose is also essential for renewable energy sources to thrive and for delivering on the Paris Agreement on climate change."
The new interconnection between the Gatika substation (near Bilbao, Spain) and the Cubnezais substation (in the French region of Aquitaine) will consist of 4 cables, two per link. This underwater and underground direct current dual link will have a transmission capacity of 2x1,000 MW. The 280 km long off-shore section incorporates technologically innovative solutions regarding the design of the route over the Cape Breton canyon and the French land section, which is fully underground.
This new link will nearly double the interconnection capacity between both countries – increasing it from 2,800 MW to 5,000 MW, and will bring Spain closer to the 10% interconnection target from the current level of 6%. Such a leap will allow for an enhanced incorporation of renewable energies, thus contributing strongly to the clean energy transition and to the EU's clean energy transition policy.
At present, this project is anticipated to be commissioned in the 2024-2025 horizon.