Transgreen, the supergrid that will carry energy from renewable sources from Northern Africa to Europe

Prysmian, worldwide leading player in the energy and telecommunications cables industry, has signed today in Paris an industrial partnership agreement with other 11 European leading groups in the power generation and transmission technologies and industries.

The initiative, patronised by the French Minister for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning, Jean-Luis Borloo and of the French Republic President’s Special Advisor, Henri Guaino, aims at studying the feasibility and the realisation of the trans-Mediterranean super-grid “Transgreen” that shall carry renewable energy from Northern Africa to Europe.

Together with Prysmian, the project involves Abengoa, Alstom, Areva, Atos, Origin, CDC Infrastructure, EDF, Nexans, RED Eléctrica de España, RTE, Siemens e Veolia. The 12 partners will be under the central coordination of a corporate body aimed at studying the technical, industrial, economic, financial, regulatory and institutional aspects of a transmission system for power coming mainly from renewable sources in the Mediterranean.

Established for an initial period of three years, “Transgreen” is part of the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) and is open to other companies, coming mainly from Southern countries, in order to promote the cooperation in the design and engineering of the electrical systems that will help speed up the transition towards the use of power generated by low carbon sources.

“Transgreen” will work in close contact with the authorities of the involved countries, the European Commission, the scientific community, the development banks and the non governmental organisations. The activities will be carried out in close coordination with the other MSP projects including “Desertec”, which aims at providing up to 15% of Europe’s electricity consumption by drawing on sun and wind power generation sources installed in Northern Africa and the Middle East by 2050.

The MSP envisages the realization of renewable power generation infrastructures, solar and wind energy, in the southern and eastern areas of the Mediterranean, for a total of 20 GW by 2020; of these, approximately 5 GW will be exported into Europe, thus creating the need for trans-Mediterranean electrical system for the transmission of power to the consumption centres and of new interconnection infrastructures, based mostly on high and extra high voltage submarine cable systems operated in direct current.

For Prysmian this is an opportunity for further developments in the renewable energies business sector. The Group is a worldwide leading player in the underground and submarine cable systems for power transmission. In particular, it is involved in the design and realization of some of the largest offshore wind farms in Northern Europe, such as Alpha Ventus in Germany, Greater Gabbard and Thanet in UK. In addition to the market leadership, the Group boasts excellence know-how: recently Prysmian has been awarded a contract for the offshore wind farm BorWin2 in Germany, the first 300 kV HVDC (high voltage direct current) interconnection.

To witness the strong commitment of the Group in the sector of power grids and renewable energies, Prysmian is one of the founding members of the “Friends of the Supergrid” (FOSG), an association born to promote the development of a pan-European offshore super-grid for the exploitation of “clean” energy.

A leading player in the industry of high-technology cables and systems for energy and telecommunications, the Prysmian Group is a truly global company with sales in excess of € 3.7 billion in 2009 and a strong position in higher value-added market segments. With its two businesses, Energy Cables & Systems (submarine and underground cables for power transmission and distribution, for industrial applications and for the distribution of electricity to residential and commercial buildings) and Telecom Cables & Systems (optical cables and fibres and copper cables for video, data and voice transmission), Prysmian boasts a global presence with subsidiaries in 39 countries, 56 plants in 24 countries, 7 Research & Development Centres in Europe, USA and South America, and around 12,000 employees. Specialising in the development of products and services designed to customer customers’ specific requirements, Prysmian’s key strengths include: a focus on Research & Development, the capacity to innovate products and production processes, and the use of advanced proprietary technologies. Prysmian is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange in the Blue Chip index.