Prysmian Group has announced that the milestone HVDC underground cable system connecting France and Spain is ready for commercial operation, following an inauguration ceremony celebrated on 20 February by INELFE, a 50:50 joint venture between the Spanish grid operator, Red Electrica de España (REE), and the French grid operator Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE). It becomes the highest power rated (2 GW) and highest voltage (± 320 kV) land extruded HVDC cable system currently available for commercial operation.
Prysmian was awarded the contract – worth a total of more than € 90 m – at the end of 2010. The project comprises a ± 320 kV extruded HVDC underground cable turnkey system that includes the engineering, production and installation of two 1000 MW bipolar circuits along a 64 km land route (with 8.6 km in a purpose-built tunnel across the Pyrenees), between the substations in Baixas near Perpignan, in France and Santa Llogaia near Figueres, in Spain. The total of 252 km of cables was manufactured in Gron, France using specially upgraded production lines and handling systems that allowed the production of very long cable lengths (approximately twice the industry average) and, consequently, a substantial reduction of the overall project execution time and risks.
This projectm classified as a Priority Project by the EU, has been realised to substantially increase the transmission capacity between France and Spain, thus improving diversification of sources and security of supply, as well as enhancing electricity market integration in South-West Europe. For Spain in particular, the project will increase grid system stability and, therefore, facilitate the use of renewable energy.
Prysmian recently announced the successful commissioning and handover of the first and the second HVDC offshore grid connections (BorWin2 and HelWin1). A further two DC offshore grid connection projects, SylWin1 and HelWin2, and one DC land connection, Skagerrak 4, are near completion and are scheduled to take up commercial operation within the first half of 2015. Prysmian is currently implementing also the HVDC cable systems for the DolWin3 and BorWin3 projects.