Cretan interconnection plan scaled back for stage one

IPTO, the power grid operator, has cut back on the scale of its interconnection plan intended to link Crete with the grid serving the wider Athens area and, for the time being, will connect the island as far north as the Peloponnese, according to energypress sources.

The operator is striving to finalize the revised latter project’s details for inclusion in its ten-year plan.

The initial plan, offering a capacity of 1,000 MW, would have covered electricity supply needs from the mainland to Crete, while also serving as a channel for the supply of Cretan renewable energy source (RES) production from the island to the wider Athens area.

Following the revision, the project will, for its initial stage, be limited to a 2 x 200 MW system connecting the Peloponnese with Crete to cover the island’s electricity needs. The resulting infrastructure will not be able to facilitate delivery of Cretan RES production to the wider Athens area. This will require development of a supplementary project.

Developing infrastructure for power supply to Crete is urgently needed as the cost of operating three mazut and diesel-fueled stations on the island is estimated at 400 million euros annually. Besides being costly, these Cretan stations are also environmentally inapporopriate. The expense of running them is covered by electricity consumers nationwide, through Public Service Compensation (YKO) surcharges on power bills.

It is estimated that 400 millions euros will cover the cost of developing IPTO’s revised 2 x 200 MW plan, connecting Crete with the Peloponnese. Upgrades to exisiting networks at both locations will not needed to complete this part of the project.

The full plan will need to be completed when major wind-energy facilities on Crete, already licensed, are developed and begin to operate.

Crete’s interconnection with the mainland has been on the cards for the past two decades but has been delayed by various factors.

The project’s completion is one of national significance as the expected reduction of electricity costs, estimated at seven to eight percent, promises to benefit the industrial and tourism sectors and generate new jobs.