Red Eléctrica and cultural heritage

The ArqueoRED project, launched in 2014, allows Red Eléctrica to have information on catalogued archaeological heritage sites in the vicinity of its facilities.

  • Environment

Department of Environment

The protection of cultural heritage is an aspect that Red Eléctrica pays special attention to in the design and construction of new facilities, from the initial stages of any project, and does so at the same degree and with the same care as it devotes to other social and environmental values, such as biodiversity conservation and combating climate change.

Red Eléctrica reduces the impact on cultural heritage with numerous protective actions that are carried out from the outset of the project. These actions arise from the analysis of catalogued cultural elements and objects located in the vicinity of any proposed facility, in order to foresee the impacts that the facilities may have on them. Before starting the construction of any type of installation, a series of preventive measures are carried out, such as superficial archaeological field surveys, and archaeological explorations and mechanical excavations, depending on the archaeological significance. When the results of the field survey deem it necessary, there is an archaeologist present at all times during the earthworks stage.

In 2014, the ArqueoRED project was launched, a project, which, included in the corporate responsibility initiatives, aims to provide digital mapping of information regarding catalogued heritage sites in the vicinity of electricity transmission facilities, so that it can be consulted prior to the planning of works associated to the construction of new facilities. This project has also been very useful during the facilities maintenance stage, since in some cases the constraints arising from the existing cultural heritage are unknown, with the consequent risk of inadvertently causing damage, generating conflict with local authorities and delays in the maintenance campaigns and planned work.

In 2015, Red Eléctrica had archaeological supervision in the construction of 22 lines and 4 substations of the transmission grid, with permanent presence of an archaeologist in 64% of the lines under construction and in all substations. In 2016, archaeological supervision is being carried out in the construction of 11 facilities of the transmission grid, representing almost 85% of the current projects underway.

Universities, public administrations and experts have collaborated and provided technical support in activities carried out in archaeological, paleontological and ethnological sites, such as the Ibero-Roman city of Isturgi in the province of Jaen, the ‘Can Malalt’ late Punic Settlement in the island of Ibiza, and other new findings such as the rock art paintings of Riquelme cave in the town of Jumilla, in Murcia. In some cases, the remains found were delivered to museums and local institutions, as in the case of the paleontological site discovered in the plot of land to be used for the future Magaña substation, in the province of Soria.

Can Malalt, an example of collaboration

An example of Red Eléctrica’s interest in reducing the impact of its facilities on the archaeological heritage is how the Can Malalt site in Ibiza was managed and handled.

In 2013, three sites with archaeological remains from different eras were located during the cultural heritage study performed prior to the construction of the Torrent substation and as a result, the works were suspended for four months until the archaeological significance of the finding was evaluated.

The area of Education, Culture and Heritage of the Council of Ibiza coordinated the archaeological excavation, financed by the Company with more than 700,000 euros and which finally agreed to dedicate 4,500 m2, 20% of the substation plot, as an archaeological reserve site. Thus, the modernity of an electrical substation coexists with the remains of a necropolis of Byzantine origin, of the sixth and seventh centuries, with 18 tombs; one late Punic settlement dating between the first and third century BC, and the remains of a wine or oil production centre from the Byzantine era.