Additional Greek-Bulgarian power link seen to be five years away

A much-delayed plan to develop a second high-voltage line linking the Greek and Bulgarian electricity grids, which would increase the transmission capacity between the two countries by 600 MW, doubling the current level, appears headed for actualization. Authorities believe the project could be ready to operate in five years.

Following much discussion and early planning over the past cople of decades, a preliminary study for the project, intended to run from the Nea Santa area in the Rodopi area, northeastern Greece, to Maritsa, southern Bulgaria, was completed in 2002. However, in more recent times, the line was classified as a high-priority EU project, boosting its development prospects.

IPTO, the power grid operator, has published a general plan and called upon interested parties to offer their opinions, especially on matters concerning the link’s route and environmental protection.

Besides doubling the power transmission capacity between Greece and Bulgaria, the project’s development would also help absorb greater amounts of electricity produced by wind energy parks operating on both sides of the border.

The project would also positively impact interconnection activity between the European and Turkish transmission systems, IPTO has noted. The Turkish grid has been incorporated into the European system and is linked to both the Greek and Bulgarian grids. Electricity exchange between the three countries is constantly taking place. Bulgaria primarily exports to Greece and Turkey.

The new line would increase the exchange capacity, a prospect that is both positive and detrimental for Greek interests concerning electricity consumption and production. Local consumers would benefit. The Greek-Bulgarian project’s potential to help reduce electricity production costs in the southeast European region is one of the main reasons why it was classified as an EU project of common interest. Electricity production costs in neighboring countries such as Bulgaria and Romania are considerably lower than in Greece.

The line is planned to cover a total length of roughly 130 kiolometers. Roughly 29 kilometers of this stretch would cross Greek territory. The development cost for the Greek side of the line has been estimated at approximately ten million euros.