Saturday, October 16

A break in electrical connectivity with France causes a blackout in half of Spain | Economy

Technicians work on a power tower while maintaining high-voltage power lines.
Technicians work on a power tower while maintaining high-voltage power lines.PASCAL ROSSIGNOL / REUTERS

A break in the “very high voltage of 40,000 volts” line that connects Spain and France this afternoon caused a power outage in several areas of Spain, which has left hundreds of thousands of citizens without electricity for about an hour , as confirmed by sources from Red Eléctrica de España. Shortly before five in the afternoon, at 4:45 pm this Saturday, several areas of Catalonia, Madrid, Andalusia, Extremadura, Aragon, the Basque Country, Navarra or Murcia have been without power. The power outage also affected several areas of Portugal where thousands of Portuguese were also without power during the afternoon of this Saturday. The incident has been resolved before six in the afternoon (17:38 hours), they explain in Red Eléctrica.

“At 4:35 pm due to a breakdown in the French electrical system, according to its system operator (RTE), coinciding with a fire flown over by seaplanes, the two circuits of the electrical interconnection between Spain and France were disconnected, causing the disconnection of the peninsular electricity system from the rest of Europe ”, details Red Eléctrica through a statement released this afternoon.

Civil Protection of Catalonia, through its Twitter account @emergenciescat, published a message at 5:12 pm in the afternoon in which it warned: “Lack of electricity supply of global scope, according to Endesa. There are about 640,000 affected subscribers. There is no forecast of restoration ”. Endesa sources explain that the incidence has occasionally affected more than one million people (including a few thousand homes in Aragon) in the territories where the electricity company is a reference. Thousands of other Spaniards with contracts with other companies have also suffered the power outage.

“An incident with a seaplane has generated a problem in the French high-voltage network causing the temporary disconnection of the peninsula from the rest of Europe,” explains Red Eléctrica through its social networks. The public operator in charge of electricity transportation assures that “the problem is already solved, leaving the interconnection and the affected electricity supply in our country replaced.”

Red Eléctrica de España shows in its live statistics how, shortly before 5:00 p.m., electricity demand has plummeted. It has plummeted by about 2,500 megawatts in just minutes. It has gone from an expected demand of 29,900 megawatts, which until then was in line with actual demand, to falling to 28,062 MW.

“The isolation of the peninsular system from the central European system leads to a drop in frequency in the peninsular system due to the loss of energy that was being imported at that time (2,500 MW). This imbalance between energy injection and consumption causes the activation of the automatic protections for disconnection of consumption (which is known as load shedding) to guarantee the safety of the system and avoid a greater impact, ensuring that essential services are not affected ”, indicates REE.


“The order of 2,350 MW (power equivalent to more than two nuclear power plants at full load) is lost in our system distributed throughout the peninsular geography according to the shedding plan established for these situations. Portugal’s electrical system also suffers the corresponding consumption losses. The French system only loses due to the disturbance of the order of 100 MW as it remains coupled to the European synchronous system and does not suffer from underfrequency problems. For its part, the Moroccan electricity system loses its interconnection with Spain ”, adds the public electricity distribution company.

The Iberdrola electricity group has reported through social networks that “an incident in the Red Eléctrica de España network and outside the IDE-Iberdrola Group Distribution network is affecting electricity service users throughout Spain. As soon as REE allows reconnection, the service will be restored ”.

“Red Eléctrica de España has activated all the necessary resources foreseen for a situation of these characteristics, and thanks to the correct behavior of the set of elements and subjects of the Spanish electrical system, from the generators to the system operator, passing through the solidity of the networks of transmission and distribution, after the disturbance it is stabilized and the reconnection of the interconnection with France begins and the recovery of consumption ”, says REE.

The connection has been reestablished in most of the affected areas after just under an hour since the outage occurred. Hundreds of citizens have commented on the supply cut on social networks and #apagon has become trending topic (term most commented on the social network Twitter) in Spain. “At 17:09, the first interconnection line with France, the L-400 kV Hernani-Argia, is in service, with the peninsular system recovering the frequency of the central European system,” REE specified in a statement. “At 17:33 the interconnection is fully coupled with all the lines that make it up and at 17:38 the supply is recovered throughout the system,” he adds.

Also, several areas of Portugal suffered power cuts during the afternoon of this Saturday due to a failure in the European electricity grid, reported in a note E-redes, the branch of Portuguese electricity company EDP responsible for distribution, according to EFE. “Due to a problem registered in the European electricity grid, the national grid was affected and it was necessary to proceed, as indicated by REN (National Energy Networks), to an interruption of the service in some specific areas to guarantee the stability of the grid”, he explained. E-networks.

The company specified that it is progressively replenishing the service and did not detail the number of homes affected by the blackout. Among the affected areas cited by Portuguese media are Lisbon, Sintra, Estoril and Setúbal, in the capital area; Vila Nova de Famalicão, Guimarães and Braga, to the north, and also part of the Algarve, in the south of the country.

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