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Andalucía calls on central government to invest 544 million euros to extend electricity grid network and drive economic growth
Energy

Andalucía calls on central government to invest 544 million euros to extend electricity grid network and drive economic growth

The Junta claims the density of the power transmission grid in the region is 40% below the average for mainland Spain

José Luis Piedra

Seville

Friday, 12 April 2024, 10:43

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The Junta has asked Spain's central government in Madrid to invest 544 million euros in re-developing the electricity supply grid in Andalucía through to 2030, the aim being to boost progress in the powerful renewable energy sector and to develop new industrial projects in the region.

The regional minister for Industry, Energy and Mines, Jorge Paradela, recently presented his proposal to the region's governing council. Once approved, the proposal will be submitted to the relevant national ministry and Red Eléctrica de España (REE - the organisation responsible for the national grid), requesting their support to undertake this extension of the grid that is deemed necessary for economic growth in Andalucía.

The minister explained that this proposal has been made taking into account key aspects such as "taking advantage of the abundant renewable resources available in the Andalusian region; to meet the growing electrification already underway and to respond to the need to move electricity around according to need, the emerging green hydrogen economy and new industrial projects that require high consumption of electricity".

"Likewise, the Junta takes the view that, in addition to implementing this electricity distribution network, it is necessary to strengthen interconnections with other regions to share renewable energy output, as well as create new industry developments and support investment and employment initiatives that retain population and strengthen the socio-economic development of the whole region," he said.

Transmission grid proposals

Paradela revealed that Andalucía has asked central government to help build six substations, 88 new locations (including substation extensions) and eight new double-circuit transmission lines. These make up the main actions proposed for the transmission grid.

This Andalusian proposal looks into investments affecting all provinces to ensure a balanced expansion across the region, including infrastructure already in demand for having "great impact" in four geographical areas with the greatest investment shortfall. These areas cover 199 municipalities, including the provincial capital for Jaén and 23 municipalities of more than 15,000 inhabitants. In other words this affects 18% of Andalucía's population and 35% of the region's territory.

Among the infrastructural improvements requested are the Baza-Úbeda-Manzanares connection (Castilla-La Mancha) in the province of Jaén, to support the distribution and generation of renewables in the south of Jaén (Mazuelos), as this is one of the areas with the least infrastructure in place. There is also the Lancha-Peñarroya-Maguilla connection (Extremadura) in the province of Cordoba, where there are also requests for developments in Los Pedroches and Alto Guadiato, and a new interconnection hub with Seville; the Costa de la Luz-Puebla de Guzmán-Brovales (Extremadura) connection in the province of Huelva for renewable energy offloading and to meet demand from the Pyrite Belt; and the Arcos-Cartuja connection and other actions to improve security of supply, and to respond to industrial and renewable energy projects in the province of Cadiz.

Malaga and Granada provinces

As to the other provinces, for example: in Malaga and Granada new lines to improve the security of the system and work to meet growth in the Axarquia area and the Costa Tropical; in Seville, a new 400 kV structural connection which, according to the Junta, "will increase the meshing of the grid, bring new power evacuation capacity for renewables to the surface and allow access to new industrial demands".

Similarly, in Almeria the regional government has called for action to be taken on previously-approved plans to strengthen the system in the province as well as the boosting of supply to several substations to serve renewables and industry projects.

The minister added that to these 544 million euros must be added the value of the strategic infrastructure for which the ministry is in direct charge of decision-making, including any necessary railway development by Adif, as well as the actions envisaged for Andalucía in the ongoing energy plans to 2026 that have still to be actioned, representing an estimated investment of 282 million euros.

In Paradela's words: "Andalucía is at a clear disadvantage compared to other regions, as the density of the power grid is 40% below the average for mainland Spain, with 742 kilometres of network per million inhabitants compared to the average of 1,242 kilometres, according to data at the end of 2022".

The regional Ministry of Industry has opened this programme to participation by "all interested players", such as network and distribution companies, smaller energy distributors grouped under CIDE, renewable energy project promoters and industry sectors requesting new electrification.

As a result of this process, 222 requests have been lodged, of which 168 correspond to demand-side projects with a total demanded capacity of 17,842 MW; 37 renewable energy-generation projects, totalling 3,415 MW; and 17 electricity storage projects with a capacity of 4,886 MW.

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