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A new tunnel under the Pyrenees

23.02.2011

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In short

Inelfe, (Interconnexion électrique France Espagne – Electrical interconnection France-Spain), a joint company equally owned by the French electricity grid manager Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) and its Spanish counterpart Red Eléctrica de España (REE), has awarded the contract to build the technical gallery of the future underground electrical interconnection between France and Spain to the European economic interest grouping made up of Eiffage TP – Dragados – Setec – Arcadis – Sener.

The construction project

The gallery, which will be 3.5 metres in diameter and 8.5 km long, will be simultaneously excavated from France and Spain using two tunnelling machines, from the end of 2011 until mid-2013. The gallery will be located close to the existing high-speed train tunnels (distance of 30 to 100m) and will lie at a slightly higher level.

Improving electricity supply exchanges between France and Spain

The electrical interconnection between France and Spain will allow interconnection capacity between the two countries to be increased from 1 400 MW to 2 800 MW. The interconnection will improve security of electricity supply on a national and regional level, and will capitalise on the complementary nature of the two countries’ electricity production capacity and facilitate the development of renewable energies on the grid. When it comes into operation, the interconnection will enable a reduction of 2.3 million tons of carbon emissions per year.