(Montel) Cross-border auctions for renewable capacity linking France with the Iberian peninsula would mainly benefit French companies, as they would help Paris to curb nuclear production, the head of the Spain’s photovoltaic association told Montel on Tuesday.
“France has some trouble with [its] nuclear consumption, and they need to replace it,” said Jose Donoso, president of the Spain’s solar association Unef, referring to France’s goal of cutting the share of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix from 75% currently to 50% by 2035 at the latest.
French president Emmanuel Macron met the prime ministers of Spain and Portugal in Lisbon at the end of last week, reaffirming their commitment to boost gas and electricity interconnections as well as plans for cross-border renewables auctions and a regional carbon price floors.
France had a “very big” problem with ageing nuclear plants, Donoso said, indicating the country would be better off importing cheaper solar power from Spain that investing to keep reactors operational.
“In the future, the Iberian market will produce renewable energy cheaper than in the French one,” Donoso said.
However, the main limit to cross-border renewable auctions would be the low interconnection capacity between Spain and France, he said.New interconnections
On Friday, the three countries reiterated their objective of boosting power and gas interconnectors in the region.
France has 2.8 GW cross-border interconnection capacity with Spain, which is expected to nearly double to 5 GW by 2025 with a new 2.2 GW Bay of Biscay power link that will connect Gatica in Spain to Cubnezais in France through a 370km underground and submarine line.
Portugal, Spain and France will keep supporting two additional trans-Pyrenees as projects, which the EC has already declared of common interest.
Those links – linking Aragon with Atlantic Pyrenees and Navarre with Landes – remain in the planning phase and could each add up to 2 GW by then time they start commercial operation in in 2026, according to EC data.
“We believe this is good and this will help drive high carbon units out of the market as people will realise there is more low-carbon power available for these interconnections,” said EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Levy on Tuesday, highlighting France’s nuclear output.
“We welcome these interconnections, we believe there is a benefit for the consumers and for our companies in expanding electricity interconnections with the rest of Europe,” said EDF’s Levy.
In the past, some French firms have resisted further links to Spain, fearing higher prices in its southern neighbor would also drive up prices in France, yet the prospect of large
amounts of cheap renewable capacity coming online over the coming years may change price dynamics, said market participants.