Energy interconnection agreement signed with Spain, France

New priorities introduced regarding offshore renewables infrastructures

Portugal, Spain and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Commission in Brussels regarding energy links between the three countries, which introduces new priorities

The signatories – with Portugal represented by acting secretary of state, Ana Fontoura Gouveia – agreed “on the importance of building energy infrastructures needed to realise a secure and efficient internal energy market“, according to a statement from the EU executive.

The memorandum means that signatories commit the high-level group, created in 2015, “to cooperate on key strategic projects, such as the establishment of cross-border interconnections and the rapid implementation of priority projects in the field of electricity“.

The document also introduces new priorities regarding offshore infrastructure (see below) and renewable energy projects, cooperation on cross-border interconnections and the rapid creation of priority electricity projects.

Thus, the high-level group will also have to explore the potential of renewable hydrogen on the Iberian Peninsula, including storage and the introduction of hydrogen electrolysers.

The memorandum builds on cooperation within the frameworks of the Madrid Declaration (2015) and the Lisbon Declaration (2018).

Portugal and France are working on a project to increase interconnection capacity between Portugal (Minho) and Spain (Galicia), enabling the Iberian electricity market (Mibel) to function more efficiently, with an impact on the single European electricity market.

There are also plans for connections between Spain and France via the Bay of Biscay.

The gas pipeline between the Spanish city of Barcelona and the French city of Marseille (BarMar) to transport energy between the Iberian Peninsula and France was announced in 2022 and is estimated to take five to seven years to build.

In October 2022, Portugal and Spain reached an agreement with France to build new links to transport green hydrogen, one between Celorico da Beira and Zamora (CelZa) and the other between Barcelona and Marseille (BarMar), in a project dubbed H2MED, which Germany will join to reduce its energy dependence on Russia.

The high-level group was set up in June 2015 to promote key energy infrastructure projects in south-west Europe, such as the construction of the missing cross-border links between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the European Union’s energy market.

LUSA

NB Lusa does not elaborate on the context of “new priorities in offshore infrastructure and renewable energy projects” but there is a great deal of controversy over offshore infrastructure and how they have been seen to carry deeply negative consequences for marine ecosystems.