Portugal, Spain, and France finally agreed to build an undersea power line in the Bay of Biscay on Friday. The aim of the project is to help the Iberian peninsula escape its energy isolation.
The deal signed by these three countries guarantees the financing of the construction of the undersea power line linking Spain and France. The length of the line will be around 37 km (230 miles).
Additionally, the European Commission will provide 578 million euros ($675 million) for the project. It will cover 30% of it and it is an unprecedented amount in the European Union for an energy project.
The undersea power line is expected to be finished by 2025. It will result in doubling the capacity of electricity exchange between Spain and France.
The Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa stated after the meeting, that this deal is “a very important step”.
This agreement was awaited for a long time because it will mean the end of the isolation of Spain and Portugal from the European networks of electricity and gas distribution.
Portugal is currently producing enough electricity in order to export it in other countries, rather than only Spain. Therefore, this project should boost the county’s economy.
Additionally, both countries desire to have a better connection to the European gas market. Therefore, they want to build a pipeline in Catalonia, Spain’s northeast.
They already have 7 ports capable of handling liquefied natural gas, imported from Qatar and the USA. According to the European Commission’s study result, the Catalan pipeline will cost 440 million euros and won’t be viable since these ports do not operate at full capacity.
French President Emmanuel Macron commented about the Catalan pipeline, “we will only build more pipelines if gas consumption in Europe remains significant.” According to his statement, he is supporting the idea if it proves to be cost-effective and he sees it possible in a scenario where the demand of gas would increase as coal power plants are progressively shut down.