Major Cyclades interconnection ‘achievement of past two years’

The power grid operator IPTO’s launch on Monday of the Cyclades interconnection’s first phase represents a historic achievement for the national grid and marks the completion of a project essentially developed over the past couple of years despite being initially tabled back in the 1970s, Manos Manousakis, the operator’s chief executive, has told Athens radio station Sto Kokino.

“Following numerous misadventures and postponements, the first contract was signed in September, 2014 and the project was developed between 2015 and now,” Manousakis stressed.

The Cyclades interconnection’s first phase, a 108-km underwater power cable link, stretches from a power facility at coastal Lavrio, southeast of Athens, to Syros. From there, a 33-km cable runs to the northern part of Tinos, a 46-km cable connects Syros with Paros, and a third line, 35 km long, links Syros with Mykonos. Finishing touches are now being made to the Mykonos link, expected to be completed within the next few days.

This network will offer indirect links – from Paros – to Naxos, Antiparos, Koufonisi, Schinoussa, Iraklia, Ios, Sykinos and Folegandros.

A total of 87,000 island residents, plus tourists during the summer months, will have access to steady-voltage electricity via high-tech means, the IPTO chief noted in the radio interview.

Over the next twenty years, the project, including its ensuing stages, promises to offer financial benefits worth 2.7 billion euros, Manousakis noted.

The project’s budget, worth 245 milllion euros is being covered by the EU’s National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and IPTO company funds.

The project’s second phase, planned to include links between Paros and Naxos, Naxos and Mykonos, as well as an upgrade of of an existing cable connection linking Andros with Livadi, in southern Evia, and Andros with Tinos, is expected to be completed in 2019.

A third phase, to link Syros and Lavrio, is scheduled to be completed in 2020, two years earlier than originally planned.

The fourth phase includes south and west Cyclades islands such as Sifnos, Milos and Santorini, an island with enormous electricity consumption levels.