RAE pushing for more specific interconnection project targets

IPTO, the country’s power grid operator, is facing RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) pressure to establish more specific targets for the development of submarine island interconnection projects, especially those concerning Crete and the Cyclades, which are included in the operator’s ten-year plan (2018-2027), sources have informed.

RAE wants realistic target dates to be set, which, if missed, would lead to penalties, unless the delays are justified by certain circumstances, such as legal proceedings, for example.

The energy authority is increasing the pressure to avoid further delays, a common occurence at IPTO with major projects in the past.

Completion of the interconnection projects would reduce energy generation costs, a benefit that would be rolled over to consumers, currently covering high-cost electricity generation on the non-interconnected islands through Public Service Compensation (YKO) surcharges imposed on electricity bills.

Binding targets for IPTO are expected to come into effect in 2018 and include the Cretan interconnection project, to be developed over two stages (minor and major interconnections) and the Cyclades interconnection (second and third stages).

The new IPTO board, established following SGCC’s (State Grid Corporation of China) recent acquisition of a 24 percent stake, has already accelerated the pace at which the interconnection project is being handled by the operator, according to sources.

Prior to the arrival of IPTO’s Chinese strategic partner, RAE’s leadership often threatened to transfer the island interconnection projects to other companies. These threats are no longer being made.

According to IPTO’s current ten-year development plan, the minor Cretan interconnection (140-180 MW) is expected to link the island, Greece’s largest, with the Peloponnese by 2020, while the major interconnection (700 MW) is planned to link Crete with the wider Athens area by December, 2023. However, the operator has noted that Cretan electricity demand will not be fully integrated into the country’s grid until 2025, a prospect that has raised concerns.

Progress of the minor Cretan interconnection has been hampered as a result of legal action taken by residents of the Lakonia region’s Malea peninsula, where the submarine cable running from Crete is planned to reach the Peloponnese. Local residents are demanding revisions, including an alternate location, and have taken their case to the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court.