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France, Spain open cross-border power line with capacity from 1,400-2,800MGW

France, Spain open cross-border power line with capacity from 1,400-2,800MGW

MADRID:  France and Spain have inaugurated a cross-border power line, doubling the amount of electricity the countries can exchange as the European Union pushes for stronger ties between national grid systems within the bloc. It has capacity from 1,400MGW to 2,800MGW.

The Santa Llogaia-Baixas link will raise electricity inter connection capacity between France and Spain to 2,800 megawatts from 1,400 megawatts, the European Commission said Friday in an e-mailed statement. One megawatt can supply about 2,000 European households. The EU contributed 255 million euros ($290 million) toward the project’s total cost of 700 million euros, said the commission, the bloc’s executive arm.

The EU wants its 28 member nations to be able to transmit at least 10 percent of the power they produce across borders by 2020. Until now, interconnection capacity between France and Spain covered only 3 percent of peak demand in the Iberian Peninsula, preventing companies in the region from participating in the EU’s internal power market, according to the statement.

“The very low level of interconnection capacity is a major obstacle for the creation of a regional electricity market in southwest Europe,” the commission said. The commission is scheduled to publish a plan on reaching the 10 percent interconnection goal on Feb. 25, the same day that the EU will release its energy union strategy, according to the statement.

Inelfe, jointly owned by French electricity-grid operator RTE and Spanish counterpart Red Electrica Corp., was formed in 2008 to build the link, according to its website. The 64.5-kilometer (40-mile) power line crosses the Pyrenees mountain range and runs through underground trenches and a tunnel, the website shows. “The increased interconnection capacity will allow renewable electricity to flow more freely in the European market,” EU Energy and Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said in the statement.