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Spain, Morocco to develop new power interconnector

Barcelona — Spain and Morocco have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a third power interconnector between the two countries.

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The deal, signed Wednesday by the heads of state of the two countries, would beef up the only existing power link between the continents of Europe and Africa.

The parties did not elaborate on details of the MoU, but both sides have recently discussed increasing existing interconnection by 700 MW.

Commercial interconnection capacity between the two countries is 600 MW from Morocco to Spain and 900 MW from Spain to Morocco, according to Spanish grid operator Red Electrica.

The first link between the two nations began operation in 1996. Capacity was boosted in 2006 with the second cable.

There is market interest on both sides in boosting the interconnection.

Spain provides about 15% of Morocco's annual power needs, but there has recently been counter flow following operational start in December of Morocco's 1.4 GW Safi coal-fired plant.

Further ahead, ambitious plans to harness North Africa's solar resource and export the energy to Europe would depend on such trans-continental grid connection.

-- Stuart Elliott,

-- Gianluca Baratti,

-- Edited by Ikhhlaq Singh Aujla,