IPTO presses on with Crete interconnection survey tender

Unaffected by tomorrow’s binding bids deadline for its sale of a 24 percent stake to a strategic investor, IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, is pressing on with its investment plan and preparing the next steps required for two pivotal projects concerning Crete’s underwater interconnection with the mainland.

According to sources, the operator has prepared the details of a tender for a deep-sea survey required to develop the interconnection project’s small and large-scale stages. The tender’s launch is imminent, sources said.

The small-scale interconnection, to be developed via the Peloponnese, is planned to have a 280-MW capacity, while the large-scale interconnection, to be linked to the wider Athens area, will have a 700-MW capacity.

The full-scale project will link Crete with the wider Athens grid while the first stage’s small-scale interconnection is planned to cover part of the distance, from Crete to the Peloponnese.

When RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, had endorsed IPTO’s interconnection plan, it had called for procedures concerning the preliminary work required by the project, especially the deep-sea surveys, to be launched within 2016.

These deep-sea surveys are crucial as they should provide answers to various issues concerning the project’s feasibility. Information on aspects such as water-depth concerns and earthquake fault lines are expected, which will help the developers map out preferable routes for the interconnection project.

Once the project is completed, household electricity bills around Greece stand to be reduced as a result of lower Public Service Compensation (YKO), a surcharge included on electricity bills to cover the high operating costs of Crete’s three aging and inefficient mazut and diesel-fueled stations. Electricity supply to and from Crete will be greatly improved, facilitating renewable energy (RES) production. Also, IPTO’s annual revenues are expected to increase by as much as 2.5 percent as a result of the Cretan interconnection

Italy’s Terna, one of three candidates vying for IPTO’s 24 percent share, has expressed particular interest in the prospects offered by the operator’s planned submarine interconnection of Crete with the Greek mainland.