Spain claims EC transmission win

SPAIN: The Spanish government has proclaimed victory at last week's EU summit by forging an agreement to boost power interconnections across Europe and so reduce large-scale curtailment on the Iberian peninsula's wind capacity.

Spain is practically an energy island, capable of transmitting just 1400MW, or the equivalent around 1.5% of combined generating capacity (105GW), with the rest of Europe, through France. The EU average is 8%.

The Commission agrees to "urgent measures" to guarantee a minimum interconnection rate of "10% to 2020," across the EU, with a focus on Spain and Portugal, said Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy said. "We have made interconnection an EU priority."

It is part of a broad 15% objective to 2030. Additonally it aims to establish finance for 25-50% of interconnection investments.

The interconnection rate defines national grid transmission capacity across EU borders as a percentage of installed capacity.

Spanish wind association AEE claims 533GWh, or 5% of total wind generation, worth over €42m, were curtailed first quarter 2013 alone, largely due to poor interconnection with France.

A showdown between Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy and French president Francois Hollande had been widely predicted for last week's EU Brussels summit.

There were reports Rajoy would threaten to withhold support for an EU energy agreement to 2030, unless France lifts protectionist obstacles to long-planned power interconnectors across the Pyrenees.