RAE plans to give IPTO Crete-link control, SPV task

Fearing project delays that could prompt power supply shortages on Crete, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, intends to inform the European Commission of a decision to give Greece’s power grid operator IPTO the task of swiftly establishing a special purpose vehicle for the development of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens as a venture in which the operator will hold a 51 percent stake and other shareholders will be offered 39 percent with an option for a further 10 percent, energypress sources have informed.

The Euroasia Interconnector consortium, responsible for the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, will be offered priority rights for the 39 percent stake, the sources added.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, have been involved in an extended dispute for control of the wider project’s Cretan segment.

RAE’s plan comes as a counterproposal to a European Commission initiative giving the Euroasia Interconnector consortium until the end of the year to resolve its dispute with IPTO.

Greek energy minister Giorgos Stathakis had pre-notified of RAE’s latest move in parliament as well as in Chania last Friday, when he informed the energy authority would task IPTO with establishing an SPV by the end of this year, adding IPTO would hold a 51 percent stake and the Euroasia Interconnector consortium the other 49 percent.

Crete faces a looming energy sufficiency threat as of 2020 because an exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, ends in December, 2019. A number of power stations on the island will need to be withdrawn.