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Portugal and Morocco to start construction of electricity cable in early 2018

Staff Writer |
The governments of Portugal and Morocco are finalising studies with a view to starting construction in the first half of next year of a 200-kilometre electric cable to link the two countries’ grids.

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A Portuguese official told Lusa News Agency that the question of energy interconnections will be one of the main subjects on the agenda at the 13th Portuguese-Moroccan summit, which started on Monday in Rabat.

The visiting delegation is led by the Prime Minister, António Costa, while the secretary of state for energy, Jorge Seguro Sanches, is also present.

The cost of the project is estimated at between €500 million and €700 million, with the technical and financial model as well as the way of future operation based on the link between the Netherlands and the UK, which cost about €600 million.

“Various consortiums have already expressed interest in this project, which will have a financing model based on the payment of a levy for the passage of electricity from one side to the other,” said the official. “Portugal, which already exported electricity worth 160 million euros last year, will certainly increase its sales, but may also import at lower costs if needed.”

In technical terms, the cable would allow Portugal to sell electricity to Morocco at some moments of a certain day, and possibly buy at other moments on the same day.

“The transmission of energy would be done in both directions,” the official said.

According to the studies, which have yet to be completed, the cable should link Tavira, in Portugal’s Algarve region, to the Moroccan city of Tangiers.

One of the main political hurdles for the project was cleared last year with the signing during the climate summit in Marrakesh (COP 2016) of a ‘Roadmap for sustainability electricity trade’ between Morocco and the single European market.

The agreement, which was also signed by the governments of Spain, France and Germany, aimed to identify barriers to trade in renewable electricity between the five signatory countries and suggested ways to overcome these barriers.

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