New leak in Spain-Morocco submarine cable

In: CablesInterconnectors
Red Eléctrica de España (REE) and its Moroccan counterpart L’Office National de l’Électricité et de l’Eau potable (ONEE) have detected a fluid leak in the reserve cable (number 4) of the electrical link that connects Spain with Morocco. To locate the exact point of the incident, both the companies are working to expedite the necessary permits from Moroccan authorities to move a ship to the area, about 4.5 km from the Moroccan coast.

The leak containment system started immediately after the anomaly was detected and reduced the fluid pressure to the technically feasible minimum, managing to limit the leak in the first 2-3 hours below 5 litres / hour. The insulating fluid is biodegradable and not harmful to marine or human health

The Spain-Morocco interconnection includes two 400 kV lines, commissioned in 1997 and 2006, consisting of seven cables: three for each circuit, plus one for reserve. All the seven cables run from Tarifa terminal station at the Spanish end to Fardioua terminal station at the Moroccan end.

According to REE, ‘The security of the electrical supply of the interconnection has not been compromised at any time thanks to its double circuit and the affected (reserve) cable has been out of service since it became inoperative in September 2018 as a result of an incident caused by external. After the technical validation tests carried out, its definitive repair, initially scheduled for April this year, was delayed due to the stoppage in activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.’

In September 2019, a fluid leak was detected in the second link (cable number 7), located 15.4 km from the coast of Spain, reducing exchange capacity between the two countries from 900 to 400 MW. The incident was caused by external pressures and was fixed within the period of one month.

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