Cretan interconnection project delayed by rerouting thoughts

A ten-year investment plan concerning projects to be developed by IPTO, the country’s power grid operator, which, prior to the country’s January 25 snap elections, had been scheduled to be forwarded for public consultation by the end of January, has been put on hold by the Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Ministry as it intends to further examine various details, especially route-related specifics of the Cretan submarine interconnection project with the mainland.

According to energypress sources, the ministry’s newly appointed leadership wants to examine the possibility of rerouting the Cretan electricity interconnection project for a link with the Peloponnese rather than the coastal Athens area, as was originally planned by the country’s previous administration.

Despite the investment plan’s delayed public consultation process, the ministry appears determined to develop the ambitious interconnection project, whose initial budget has been estimated at one billion euros. In the run-up to January’s elections, certain officials of the now-ruling leftist Syriza party had questioned the interconnection project’s feasibility, arguing that, as a result of the drastic decline in crude oil prices, which they viewed as a long-term condition, the required capital would be better off spent on other fronts.

Electricity needs on Greek islands are currently served by local fuel-powered generators. The overall cost is added to electricity bills as a Public Service Compensation (YKO) surcharge.

The Cretan interconnection project, listed in IPTO’s ten-year investment plan, is scheduled for completion between 2019 and 2020. The operator’s ten-year plan, concerning electricity transmission projects in Greece, has a total budget of more than three billion euros. The plan’s initial budget was worth 2.5 billion euros, but IPTO has revised upwards with emphasis on numerous major projects in the country’s periphery.

Following investments worth an average of 60 million euros, annually, in recent years, IPTO increased the level to 130 million euros in 2014 and anticipates futher increases to 185 million euros in 2015, 230 million euros in 2016, and 340 million euros in 2017. The operator’s profit has also registered an upward trajectory. The profit figure for 2014 is expected to reach 85 million euros, up from 56 million euros in 2013 and 26.3 million euros in 2012.