Officials at power grid operator IPTO, the energy ministry and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, are seeking common ground that would pave the way
a tender to offer a minority 39 percent share in IPTO subsidiary Ariadne Interconnector, an SPV established for the development of the Athens-Crete electricity grid interconnection.
IPTO is looking to attract an investor, or investors, for a minority stake in Ariadne as financial support for the costly project.
IPTO wants to maintain a majority stake in its subsidiary as the operator is determined to control the construction of a project it will eventually operate.
State Grid Corp of China (SGCC), holding a 24 percent stake of IPTO, is expected to participate in the tender. The Chinese company has already expressed interest for a 20 percent stake in Ariadne and has signed a related memorandum with IPTO.
If SGCC’s interest is limited to a 20 percent stake, then a second equity package carrying a further 19 percent is likely to be offered to other investors.
EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-classified project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids, was expected to acquire a 39 percent in Ariadne. However, a dispute with IPTO over control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens section has distanced EuroAsia.
Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis are both confident concerns raised by RAE over the tender’s procedure will be overcome and enable a launch of the competition within the first months of this year.
RAE is worried about complications that could arise and trouble the tender as a result of SGCC’s stake in IPTO. If not handled appropriately, the tender could spark protests from rival bidders claiming unfair competition, RAE fears. Also, the authority is well aware of Brussels’ sensitivity to the prospect of a wider Chinese presence in EU infrastructure.