Hitachi Energy wins order for first subsea electricity interconnection between France and Spain

Hitachi Energy has announced it has won an order from Electricity Interconnection France-Spain (Inelfe) to supply four high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations to interconnect France and Spain via a subsea cable across the Biscay Gulf.
Hitachi Energy wins order for first subsea electricity interconnection between France and Spain
Biscay Gulf at French-Spanish border. Courtesy of Hitachi Energy.

Inelfe is a joint venture bringing together operators of the Spanish (Red Eléctrica) and French (RTE) electricity transmission networks, in charge of the construction and commissioning of all cross-border connections between both countries.

The Biscay Gulf interconnection has been identified as a project of common interest (PCI) at European level. It will consist of two HVDC links, with a converter station at each end of both systems. Combined, the links will efficiently supply a total of 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity at 400 kilovolts (kV) over 400 kilometers (km). Providing the equivalent of the power consumption of more than two million households.

The links will improve the safety, stability, and quality of the electricity supply between the two countries,  advance the integration of emission-free electricity and create a more efficient system to generate savings that benefit consumers and the rest of Europe. Most of the link will be underwater, but a short section of the link cable route will return to land to avoid the deep Capbreton Canyon.

“Cross border, and often subsea, interconnections are vital to Europe’s increasingly interconnected grid” said Niklas Persson, Managing Director at Hitachi Energy’s Grid Integration business. “Through our pioneering HVDC technology, we enable Inelfe to accelerate the two countries' sustainability goals, improving the safety, stability, and quality of electricity supply between France and Spain and the rest of Europe.”

Inelfe (Interconexión Eléctrica Francia-España or Electricity Interconnection France-Spain) was set up following the 2008 Zaragoza Agreement, between the governments of Spain and France, with the mission to enhance the exchange of electricity between the two countries. The resulting infrastructure doubled the interconnection capacity between France and Spain from 1,400 MW to 2,800 MW today. With the Biscay Gulf interconnection, the capacity to exchange power will soon reach 5,000 MW.

In line with its Purpose to champion the urgency of a clean energy transition through innovation and collaboration, Hitachi Energy is collaborating with VINCI, an industry leader in energy and construction. Together the two companies will provide an advanced solution for the Biscay Gulf project by delivering the engineering and power technologies and the construction of the converter stations. The collaboration with VINCI will leverage the core competencies of the two companies to deliver a best-in-class solution for the project.

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