A number of significant power developments have been mooted in northeastern Spain’s Catalonia region, including plans to develop five new combined cycle plants over the next decade, according to reports attributed to the deputy director of Catalonia Energy Institute, Ignasi Nieto.

The news comes as the region has finalised plans to develop a 400 kV interconnector with France. The regional government’s draft energy plan speaks of a high risk of a collapse in the electricity supply in certain areas, a situation that would be helped by boosting interconnection capacity in line with EU guidelines.

The interconnector proposals reportedly have the support national grid operator Red Electrica de Espana (REE) and senior politicians. The proposals, outlined in the Energy Plan, do not specify the deadline for the construction of the electricity interconnection or the location of the plants, although proposals have been mooted for Girona, Tarragona and the port of Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Gas Natural recently received approval from the Catalan government to build a gas pipeline for its 800 MW CCGT at Plana del Vent in Spain’s north-east Tarragona province. The 9 km pipeline will supply the €400 million power project located in the municipality of Vandellos and scheduled to come on line in early 2007.

In other Spanish power market news, the national electricity champions have announced massive growth in profits of more than 20%, despite the widespread drought in the Iberian peninsular that has affected hydro-electric generation.

In the first half of this year Endesa, Iberdrola, Union Fenosa and HC Energia delivered a combined profits of €1.91 billion despite higher fuel prices and drought, an increase of 22.1% on the same period last year.