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Sub-sea power cable Lanzarote-Fuerteventura enhances biodiversity

4C Offshore | Chris Anderson
By: Chris Anderson 03/05/2023 Chris Anderson
A new interconnector between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura inaugurated by Red Eléctrica in 2022 runs between the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Red Eléctrica invested €236 million in this link, made up of 14.5 km of subsea cable protected by ECOncrete’s bio-enhancing concrete technology, a tailor-made ecological concrete solution to protect the infrastructure along its underwater trench. This is a project aimed at promoting the integration of this type of infrastructure in the environment and its positive impact on the environment.
 

According to Red Eléctrica, findings collected on camera by professional divers are remarkable: Marine life is thriving along the route and the cable protection has merged with the natural marine habitat, to the extent that the installation is in most parts invisible to the naked eye.  Various species of fish, algae, sponges, crustaceans, molluscs and sea urchins have already adopted the structure as their habitat, presenting a clear ecological uplift in compression to standard systems.  

 

Red Eléctrica worked with ECOncrete to develop and deploy a bespoke ecological concrete solutionfor protecting the cable along its sub-sea trench. ECOncrete designed and delivered this bio-enhancing concrete system to address Red Eléctrica's challenge to cap the cable trench in the rocky seabed between the islands. This required a technology capable of not only protecting the cable but also the local marine ecosystem and its biodiversity, an action that is in line with the policy of positive impact on the environment carried out by Red Eléctrica in the development of all its infrastructures.

 

ECOncrete CEO and Co-Founder, Dr. Ido Sella, said: “This project demonstrates the ability to bridge sustainability and development with responsible and accountable construction. As a marine biologist, seeing these findings made me more optimistic about the shift in the priorities in industry and its recognition of marine ecosystems’ importance. ECOncrete's technology allows coastal and offshore infrastructure to support biodiversity and other ecosystem services, and all of us at ECOncrete and Red Eléctrica are thrilled with the results.” 

 

Red Eléctrica Manager of Licences and Environmental Management Area, Luis Velasco, highlighted the double benefit provided by the infrastructure developed by the Company: “This new sub-sea cable has not only allowed us to expand the quantity of renewable energy on the islands, as part of the road to net zero, but has also enhanced the marine environment around the islands too. A real win-win.”

 

Red Eléctrica has invested 36 million euros in this 14.5 km sub-sea cable, running at a maximum depth of 80 metres, and two land-based underground cable sections of 1.8 km on Lanzarote and 645 metres on Fuerteventura. The cable reinforces an existing one at 66 kV, increasing the robustness and flexibility of the electrical system on both islands.

The new interconnection reinforces an existing one, commissioned in 2005, which transports electricity at 66 kV in alternating current. The new link aims to increase the redundancy and robustness of the electrical system on both islands.

Red Eléctrica has made a significant in  reinforcing the transmission network to integrate the new renewable energy in the islands. In 2022 alone, 6 new MW of photovoltaic power have been put into service, which, added to the existing renewable power, make a total of 123 MW installed (98 MW of wind power and 25 photovoltaics). In addition, the renewable power installed in the system has practically doubled since January 2019.

Since 2011, Red Eléctrica has invested around €268 million in the development of new networks as well as renovation, improvement and maintenance works on transmission network assets in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Among other facilities, the construction of 7 new substations has been carried out, among which the new substations of Playa Blanca, Tías or Callejones in Lanzarote and their connections to the network stand out, as well as this new submarine link between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. 



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