EuroAsia project moving again, Egypt present with EuroAfrica

Development of the wider region’s two major electricity grid interconnections, the EuroAsia Interconnector, to link Greece, from Crete, with Cyprus and Israel, and EuroAfrica Interconnector, a complementary project to link Cyprus with the African continent via Egypt, was discussed at a meeting in Nicosia yesterday between Greece’s energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and his Cypriot counterpart Natasa Pilides.

Progress at EuroAsia Interconnector, whose launch is scheduled for late in 2023, was held back by a Greek-Cypriot dispute prompted by Greek power grid operator IPTO’s withdrawal of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment from EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests.

The Crete-Athens segment is now being developed as a national project by IPTO and subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection.

EuroAsia Interconnector and EuroAfrica Interconnector promise to develop Cyprus into an electricity hub. A 310-km cable from Israel and a 498-km line from Egypt will converge at coastal Kofinou, in Cyprus’ south. From this hub, an 898-km cable is planned to link Cyprus with Crete before reaching Athens.

At yesterday’s meeting, the Greek and Cypriot energy ministers primarily focused on EuroAsia Interconnector, the Crete-Cyprus-Israel project, at a more mature stage.

Budgeted at 2.5 billion euros, this project, regarded as an EU Project of Common Interest, will promote regional energy security and further RES penetration in all three participating countries, Hatzidakis noted. The EU, it is estimated, will need to contribute at least half the project’s value.

Cyprus is the only EU member state without electricity grid interconnections.

Germany’s Siemens was awarded a procurement contract last May for EuroAsia Interconnector’s HVDC converter stations, budgeted at 623 million euros.

EuroAsia Interconnector was initially planned to offer 2 GW but this capacity has been halved, for the time being, as the other 1 GW will be used for the Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

EuroAsia Interconnector’s Israel-Cyprus segment is budgeted at 900 million euros while the cost of the bigger Cyprus-Crete section is estimated between 1.6 and 1.8 billion euros.

 

IPTO’s Ariadne Interconnection minority share offer resurfaces

Power grid operator IPTO has reopened the prospect of making available to investors a minority stake in its subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection, established for the development of the Crete-Athens interconnection.

The possible sale essentially remained stagnant during a recent period of administrative changes at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Ariadne Interconnection has been commissioned the project’s construction IPTO but will cease to be involved in any way once the project is delivered to the operator for operation.

IPTO’s administration reminded RAE, in a letter forwarded just days ago, about a concession agreement it has signed with Ariadne Interconnection, offering a detailed description of the relations between the two companies for the Crete-Athens grid interconnection project.

The project was originally planned to be a segment of a wider interconnection plan to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli electricity grids, with EuroAsia, a consortium of Cypriot interests, at the helm, before IPTO withdrew the Crete-Athens section for its development as a national project.

IPTO has noted a minority partner in Ariadne Interconnection could be offered a stake of up to 40 percent.

China’s SGCC, a strategic partner of IPTO holding a 24 percent stake, informed, some time ago, that it wants to acquire a 20 percent stake of Ariadne Interconnection. European operators such as Belgium’s Elia and France’s RTE, as well as major investment groups have also indicated they would be interested.

 

Cyprus wants unchanged cost agreement for link with Crete

Though a new application submitted by EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, to the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility for funding support concerning an electricity grid interconnection project to link the Greek and Cypriot systems has yet to be examined or reciprocated by the European Commission, Greece and Cyprus have already begun talks on how to divide the remainder of the project’s costs not covered by the CEF.

The Cypriot side, which took the initiative for these talks, appears determined to ensure that Greece will stick to its share of the cost under the terms agreed to when the project also included the Athens-Crete link as part of a wider plan to interconnect the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems.

EuroAsia Interconnector head the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli plan. Greek power grid operator IPTO withdrew the Athens-Crete segment and is now working on it as a national project. IPTO is aiming for swifter progress on this section, urgently needed to resolve Crete’s pressing energy sufficiency issues.

Cyprus’ Regulatory Authority for Energy, RAEK, has forwarded to its Greek counterpart RAE a text presenting its cost-related views. RAEK wants to ensure that a Cross Border Cost Allocation agreement signed by the two sides late in 2017 for the Greek-Cypriot link, running from Crete to Cyprus, remains valid, despite Greece’s withdrawal of the Athens-Crete section.

According to the CBCA agreement, Cyprus will take on 63 percent of the cost of the Crete-Cyprus link and Greece will be responsible for the other 37 percent, under the condition that 50 percent of the total cost will be covered by EU funds, through the CEF.

The Crete-Cyprus interconnection is budgeted at 1.5 billion euros, meaning Greece’s share will be approximately 280 million euros.

This amount will be incorporated into IPTO’s accounts and need to be recovered through network surcharges included in consumer electricity bills, seen as a delicate matter by the Greek government.

Greek authorities have yet to respond to RAEK’s initiative as they await news from the European Commission on the CEF request.

Committee to oversee Greece, Cyprus, Israel grid link compatibility

Greek power grid operator IPTO, its Cypriot counterpart, DSMK, and project partners have been authorized by the energy ministries of the two countries to assemble a special committee tasked with ensuring technical compatibility between the prospective Athens-Crete grid interconnection and the planned Cypriot and Israeli links.

The Athens-Crete grid interconnection, work on which is set to begin, will be developed by IPTO subsidiary Ariadne Interconnector, following the Greek grid operator’s break away from Cyprus’ EuroAsia Interconnector, originally formed to oversee the entire interconnection project, from Greece to Israel, but now handling its Cyprus and Israel segments.

The Greek and Cypriot energy ministries have asked IPTO, DSKK, Ariadne Interconnector and EuroAsia Interconnector to assemble the special committee within the next fortnight.

Greece’s energy ministry is determined to contribute to all efforts resolving any technical issues for the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli interconnection but development of the Athens-Crete section, nationally significant as it promises to prevent energy shortages on Crete, remains the ministry’s main concern at this stage, sources informed.

The Greek government is providing strong political support to the Crete-Cyprus and Cyprus-Israel segments, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou has pointed out, noting Cyprus’ grid interconnection with the rest of the EU promises to help the country achieve RES objectives set for 2030.

IPTO, ministry, RAE seeking common ground for Ariadne tender

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.

 

Ariadne Interconnector minority stake tender early in 2020

A tender to offer one or two prospective partners minority stakes in Ariade Interconnector, the SPV established by power grid operator IPTO for the development of the Athens-Crete electricity grid interconnection, is expected to be staged within the first few months of 2020.

Both the energy minister Costis Hatzidakis and IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis anticipate common ground will soon be found with RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to enable the tender to go ahead.

State Grid Corp of China (SGCC) appears willing to participate in the tender. The Chinese company, already holding a 24 percent stake of IPTO, has expressed interest to acquire 20 percent of Ariadne. A related memorandum guaranteeing SGCC’s involvement, has been signed between SGCC and IPTO.

If SGCC’s interest in Ariadne is limited to 20 percent, then a second package, most probably offering an additional 19 percent, will be offered to investors for a total of 39 percent.

This is the Ariadne Interconnector stake that had been planned for EuroAsia, a consortium of Cypriot interests that has opposed IPTO’s decision to appoint Ariadne, a subsidiary firm, as project promoter of the Athens-Crete electricity grid interconnection.

Euroasia, heading a consortium formed for a wider PCI-status interconnection project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids, has sought control of the Crete-Athens segment’s development.

If SGCC expresses an interest for an Ariadne stake bigger than 20 percent, then just one package offering 39 percent will be offered through a tender.

IPTO is determined to keep a majority stake in its subsidiary Ariadne as the operator wants to maintain control over the construction stage of the Athens-Crete link, to be managed by the operator once launched.

Investors, especially from abroad, are expected to show strong interest in Ariadne.

The IPTO administration is also looking to offer minority stakes to investors in other projects it is developing. This would secure further financing support and swifter completion.

PM decision on Crete link, wider PCI plan support needed today

Negotiations ran throughout the day until late last night as all sides involved sought to determine if an agreement is possible on the prospective Crete-Athens power grid interconnector and whether the wider Athens-Crete-Cyprus-Israel interconnection, an EU project of common interest (PCI), remains feasible under the current conditions.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis must inform the European Commission  today on whether Athens supports the wider PCI project, a stance that would incorporate the Athens-Crete segment, or pursue this segment separately as a national project.

A European Commission PCI committee is meeting today to discuss the EU’s new PCI list for the next two years.

Greek power grid operator IPTO has been embroiled in a dispute with Cypriot consortium EuroAsia Interconnector over development control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment. EuroAsia Interconnector heads the wider project and has been joined by Elia, Belgium’s electricity transmission system operator, in a strategic alliance.

The Cypriot side entered yesterday’s negotiations with a slightly improved offer but the Greek side still considers it insufficient for constructive talks.

The Greek government has set red lines for the Athens-Crete segment, including no further delays for ongoing tenders offering converter station contracts, which effectively means technical term revisions will not be accepted. Greek officials insist compatibility for the wider project is ensured.

Gov’t making last-ditch effort for Cypriot deal on Crete grid link

The government, determined to move ahead with the country’s grid interconnection projects in support of economic and environmental concerns, is making a final effort to establish cooperation between Greek power grid operator IPTO and Cypriot consortium EuroAsia Interconnector, at odds for development control of a grid project to link Crete with Athens.

The EuroAsia Interconnector consortium heads a wider PCI-status project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids.

“We need to have made decisions by October 4. Grid Interconnections are a priority for environmental and economic reasons,” energy minister Costis Hatzidakis stressed yesterday, speaking at a conference staged by the Hellenic Entrepreneurs Association (EENE).

The government is seeking to make the most of ongoing visits to Greece by Cypriot minister of energy, commerce industry and tourism Giorgos Lakkotrypis and former foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, now Euroasia Interconnector’s Chairman of the Strategic Council.

The Greek energy ministry has not ruled out an agreement with Euroasia Interconnector for the Crete-Athens grid link but has made clear swift development of the project is the top priority. A Greek-Cypriot-Israeli grid interconnection is still desired by the Greek government but the Cretan link is seen as even more crucial, Hatzidakis, the energy minister, is insisting, according to sources.

Euroasia Interconnector and the European Commission have requested the cancellation of a decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, awarding the Cretan project to Ariadne, a fully-owned IPTO subsidiary. This would delay progress.

“The only remaining prospect for cooperation would require Euroasia to provide the needed capital for a stake in Ariadne. But the Cypriot consortium appears unwilling or unable to do this,” an official deeply involved in the matter has informed.

The Cretan grid link project will be continued as a national project if current talks with the Cypriot side do not lead to any agreement, sources informed. If so, the Greek government is expected to deliver a pending reply to Brussels making clear that it does not support the entire Athens-Crete-Cyprus-Israel project.

Meanwhile, prospective bidders of a tender concerning the Crete-Athens grid interconnection project’s engineering, procurement and construction of two converter stations and a GIS substation have been given a further deadline extension. An initial August 30 deadline had been reset for September 30 before the latest extension.

Crete-Athens link tender set for further deadline extension

A tender concerning the Crete-Athens grid interconnection project’s engineering, procurement and construction of two converter stations and a GIS substation will be given a further deadline extension, possibly an entire month, as a result of requests made by major prospective bidders.

An initial August 30 deadline was reset for September 30 and may now be extended to October 30.

Project promoter Ariadne, a subsidiary of Greek power grid operator IPTO, has made clear to the tender’s participants the latest deadline extension will be the last as any further delays would place at risk the project’s completion on time. This would have repercussions as the project is vital for Crete’s energy sufficiency.

The latest extension is not linked to a legal challenge made by EuroAsia, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids, sources noted. Nor is it any way linked to a pending Greek government response to the European Commission on whether the Crete-Athens interconnection will be supported by Greece as part of the wider PCI project or as a national project, the sources added.

Some of the companies interested in the Crete-Athens link tender have confirmed requesting a new deadline extension.

This tender was preceded by an initial tender concerning the project’s cable segments. Appraisals of the technical aspects of offers will be completed by the end of this month, according to IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis, while assessments of the financial offers will follow.

Supreme Court rejects Euroasia case for Crete link control

The Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, appears to have rejected a case filed by Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, challenging the appointment of Greek power grid operator IPTO subsidiary Ariadne as project promoter of a grid interconnection to link Crete with Athens, energypress sources have informed.

Euroasia, heading a consortium formed for a wider PCI-status interconnection project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids, is seeking control of the Crete-Athens segment’s development.

Legal experts believe Euroasia’s challenge will not succeed.

The Cypriot consortium’s Supreme Court move, which opposed the Ariadne subsidiary’s appointment by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, followed an unsuccessful legal attempt at the Authority for the Examination of Preliminary Appeals (AEPP).

The Supreme Court’s verdict is crucial as it will determine if ongoing tenders for the development of the Crete-Athens interconnection can continue or not.

Procedures concerning a tender for the project’s transmission stations are progressing and attracting the interest of major developers and suppliers. This tender’s deadline was extended by one month.

The energy ministry, in contact with the European Commission over the matter, has not written off the prospect of a settlement with Euroasia but insists the project’s swift development is the key criterion behind decisions.

Supplying the required capital for a minority stake in Ariadne appears to be the only available option for Euroasia at this stage. However, the Cypriot consortium does not appear willing to take such a route.

Time is running out. Greece has until October 31 to inform a European Commission committee handling the EU’s PCI list if the country will support the Crete-Athens interconnection as part of the wider PCI project or proceed with its development as a national project.

Supreme court to hear Euroasia Crete-Athens case Thursday

The Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, is scheduled to hear a case filed by Euroasia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a PCI-status grid interconnection project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems – against Greek power grid operator IPTO on September 5.

Euroasia, embroiled in a dispute with IPTO for control of the Greek segment’s development, planned to link Crete with Athens, recently escalated its legal effort following a rejection by AEPP, the Authority for the Examination of Preliminary Appeals.

Commenting on the upcoming hearing, legal sources said they do not expect a favorable verdict for the Euroasia consortium.

Though the deadline of a project tender held by Ariadne Interconnector, an IPTO subsidiary, was given a one-month extension to September 30, procedures are progressing normally, while all major players appear interested, sources told energypress.

IPTO has increased the budget of the Crete-Athens interconnection to 380 million euros from an initial figure of 315 million euros. This 20 percent increase reflects the development cost, taking into account related projects in other parts of Europe as well as a high risk of delay-related costs.

The Crete-Athens interconnection needs to be completed in a 36-month period, far shorter than time periods of between 48 and 72 months offered for equivalent projects, internationally.

The Greek energy ministry has indicated a willingness to cooperate with the Cypriot consortium, making clear the project’s swift development is a pivotal factor behind decisions.

Greece has until October 31 to inform a European Commission committee if the country intends to support the Athens-Crete interconnection as a part of the wider PCI project or as a national project.

Euroasia takes Crete grid link case to supreme court

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a PCI-status grid interconnection to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems, has escalated its legal action against Greek power grid operator IPTO amid their dispute for control of the Greek segment’s development, planned to link Crete with Athens.

Euroasia has stepped up its legal action by filing a case to the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, following a rejection by AEPP, the Authority for the Examination of Preliminary Appeals, reliable sources have informed energypress.

The Cypriot consortium is seeking to have an AEPP verdict overturned, which would disrupt related project tenders currently being held by Ariadne Interconnector, an IPTO subsidiary.

The case is scheduled to be heard on September 5, the sources noted, adding Greek authorities are in the process of making their legal preparations.

The recently appointed Greek energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has already made clear his intentions to not alter the project’s ongoing procedures, while also indicating a willingness for greater cooperation with the Cypriot side.

 

 

Crete link tender deadline for cables expires today

The deadline of a tender for the engineering, procurement and installation of underwater cable systems (2 x 500 MW) concerning the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection expires today following two extensions.

An initial July 22 deadline was extended to July 29 before being stretched further to August 5. These successive deadline extensions sparked rumors of possible revisions concerning the 330-km long project.

Power grid operator IPTO, whose subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection is staging the tender, has ruled out the possibility of any further extension.

IPTO is determined to make clear that the tender is pressing ahead despite efforts by Cypriot consortium Euroasia Interconnector aiming to block the procedure.

Euroasia Interconnector, heading a wider PCI-status project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids, is at odds with IPTO for control of the Crete-Athens segment’s development.

Euroasia Interconnector took fresh legal action last week against IPTO and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, which, if successful, could prompt further tender delays.

The Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection is urgently needed to prevent a looming energy shortage on the island, Greece’s largest. Outdated diesel-fueled power stations operating on the island need to be withdrawn to meet EU environmental regulations.

The Cretan grid interconnection project is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Italy’s Prysmian and France’s Nexans, both leading companies in the field, have shown interest in the tender.

 

Euroasia escalates Crete grid link legal action, IPTO unperturbed

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a PCI-status grid interconnection to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems, has escalated its legal action against Greek power grid operator IPTO by submitting a suspension request intended to stop the latter’s development of the project’s Greek segment, to connect Crete with Athens.

The two sides have been at odds for control of the Greek segment’s development. The Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection is urgently needed to prevent an energy shortage on Crete, Greece’s largest island.

The action comes following a meeting this week between Euroasia Interconnector officials and Greece’s newly appointed energy minister Costis Hatzidakis. The Cypriot officials obviously came out of the session  dissatisfied.

Euroasia Interconnector is seeking to overturn decisions by Greek authorities that have established Ariadne Interconnector, an IPTO subsidiary, as the Crete-Athens grid interconnection’s project promoter.

The latest legal action threatens to block tenders concerning the local segment’s development.

IPTO’s legal representatives are confident the latest action will prove futile and not lead to any further delays of the the project’s two tenders, both currently in progress.

Participants of a tender for the engineering, procurement and installation of cables and stations concerning the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection face an August 5 deadline, following two extensions. A second tender for the engineering, procurement and installation of two transformer stations and a substation concerning the project has been extended to August 30.

 

 

Crete grid link urgent, minister stresses at Cyprus meeting

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a PCI-status grid interconnection to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems, is prepared to collaborate with Greek authorities for the development of the project’s Greek segment, to connect Crete with Athens, as long as Greece accepts a related road map set by the European Commission last October, sources have informed.

Essentially, this can be interpreted as a Cypriot demand for Greece to accept the project’s technical specifications that were rejected by Greek power grid operator IPTO and the previous Syriza government.

Last year’s road map includes all the technical, financial and interconnection details concerning the project’s three segments, linking Athens with Crete, Crete with Cyprus and Cyprus with Israel. Absolute compatibility is essential.

Greek energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, who met yesterday with Euroasia Interconnector’s top officials, emphasized the importance being placed by the newly elected conservative New Democracy government on the project’s swift development.

Fast progress will serve as the main criterion when determining action to be taken, Hatzidakis stressed at the meeting, in Nicosia, adding that, if possible, the support of EU funds would be a bonus. PCI projects are entitled to EU support funds.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector have been at odds for control over the development of the project’s Crete-Athens segment. It is needed urgently to prevent a looming energy shortage on Crete as of next year, when old units still operating on the island will need to be withdrawn to align the country with EU environmental policies.

Crete grid link tender deadline extended by a few days

The deadline of a tender for the engineering, procurement and installation of cables and stations concerning the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection, needed to prevent an energy shortage on the island, Greece’s largest, has been re-extended to August 5 from July 29, after the initial expiry date had been set for July 22.

Power grid operator IPTO, which has established the Ariadne Interconnector subsidiary for the project’s development, needed, according to the tender’s terms, to inform participants of the latest deadline no later than three days before the existing deadline. IPTO issued an announcement on the deadline extension yesterday.

A second tender for the engineering, procurement and installation of two transformer stations and a substation concerning the project has been extended to August 30.

Earlier this week, the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, rejected a case filed by Euroasia Interconnector against the tenders, paving the way for IPTO to push ahead with the project, to be completed over two stages. The first will link Crete with the Peloponnese while the second will connect Crete with the Athens area.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids, has fought for development control of the Crete-Athens segment.

According to some sources, the Greek government may exhaust all possibilities for the project’s funding support through the EU’s PCI catalog, offering favorable terms. The interconnection’s development as a national project is another option.

A government decision on the course it will opt to take is expected over the next few days. The priority, at this stage, is to push ahead for the project’s swift completion.

 

Swift progress needed for Cretan link, minister supports

There is no time to waste on the Crete-Athens grid interconnection project, while a solution in a dispute between Greek power grid operator IPTO and Cypriot consortium Euroasia Interconnector for control of the project’s development is desirable, the newly appointed energy minister Costis Hatzidakis has supported in comments at an Economist conference in Athens.

These thoughts, supporting swift development of the Cretan link, needed to avoid an energy shortage on the island, were also expressed by the Greek minister to his Cypriot counterpart Giorgos Lakkotrypis on the sidelines of the event, their first meeting since Hatzidakis assumed his post.

IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis expressed satisfaction over the Greek energy minister’s determination to push ahead with the Cretan grid link.

Euroasia Interconnector, heading a PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid connection project, is seeking control, as provider, of the wider plan’s Greek segment.

The country’s newly elected conservative New Democracy government must still clarify, to the European Commission, whether it supports the inclusion of the entire Greek-Cypriot-Israeli project, or just the Crete-Cyprus-Israel segment, on a new PCI list being prepared by the EU body. The previous Syriza government’s energy ministry supported the latter, taking national control of the domestic Crete-Athens section.

The energy ministry intends to forward a letter, officially expressing its position on the matter, within the next few days, sources have informed.

 

Crete grid link project tenders headed for new extension

Bidding deadlines for two tenders concerning the respective procurement of cables and transformers for the Crete-Athens grid interconnection, a project that is urgently needed to prevent a looming energy shortage on Crete, are headed for an extension.

Ariadne Interconnector, an SPV subsidiary established by power grid operator IPTO for the project’s development, will need to extend its bidding deadlines for the two tenders as AEPP, the Authority for the Examination of Preliminary Appeals, looking into action taken by Eurosia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli grid interconnection, has deferred its hearing for July 22 from July 15.

Euroasia Interconnector has been at odds with IPTO for development control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment.

The deadlines for the tenders now coincide with AEPP’s new date for the hearing. The deadline for the tender concerning the procurement of cables was previously set for July 8 before being extended to July 22. The tender for transformers was originally set for July 22.

Both tenders cannot proceed until AEPP has reached a decision on the dispute between IPTO and Eurosia Interconnector.

IPTO and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, have already submitted their cases for the AEPP hearing.

According to pundits, Eurosia Interconnector’s chances of a decision in its favor are minimal, at best.

The Cypriot consortium’s decision to take its case to AEPP has been interpreted as a time-buying initiative taken with the hope of gaining the support of the newly elected Greek government.

While in opposition, the New Democracy party, which won last Sunday’s Greek elections, had not made clear whether it supported moves by IPTO, RAE and the ex-energy minister Giorgos Stathakis that ended up giving the Ariadne Interconnector subsidiary control of the Crete-Athens segment.

 

Elections, EuroAsia case to delay Crete link tender approval

Greece’s upcoming elections on July 7 and legal action pursued by EuroAsia Interconnector stand in the way of a decision by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to approve the terms of a competition offering investors a minority stake of up to 39 percent in Ariadne Interconnection, a subsidiary established by power grid operator IPTO for the development of a grid interconnection project to link Crete with Athens.

The RAE decision was expected any day now, but these two factors will delay the announcement for a latter date, sources at IPTO have informed.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid connection, has reacted as IPTO has taken control of the project’s Crete-Athens segment.

The consortium has submitted a case to Greece’s Authority for the Examination of Preliminary Appeals (AEPP) challenging tenders for the Crete-Athens link’s tenders concerning the project’s development (cables and transformers, budgeted at 600 million and 315 million euros, respectively).

AEPP has set a July 15 date to hear the Cypriot consortium’s case. EuroAsia Interconnector’s bid is not expected to succeed, legal officials explained, as this authority’s jurisdiction deals with companies protesting  tender terms that could exclude them from participating. Even so, the case needs to be heard and will contribute to the delay in RAE’s approval.

The Athens-Crete grid interconnection is urgently needed as electricity demand on the island is increasing while high-polluting units operating on Crete will soon need to be withdrawn as part of the EU’s environmental policy.

IPTO has committed itself to delivering the Athens-Crete link by the end of 2022.

 

EuroAsia avoids challenge against Crete link tender terms

Euroasia Interconnector, heading a PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid connection but at odds with Greek power grid operator IPTO for control, as provider, of the project’s Crete-Athens segment, has chosen not to take preliminary legal action challenging the terms of a related project tender, energypress sources have informed.

A deadline set by IPTO subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection for any legal challenges expired yesterday. Action by Ariadne Interconnection, a consortium of Cypriot interests, had been anticipated by a number of officials.

On May 24, when the Ariadne Interconnection tender’s terms were announced, IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis underlined that all interested parties, domestic and foreign, need to contribute, implying project delays would be prompted if either EuroAsia or the European Commission took legal action.

The Crete-Athens interconnection, budgeted at 915 million euros, is scheduled for completion within 2022.

EuroAsia’s restraint may reflect a new strategy by the Cypriot consortium entailing an effort to secure Greek government support required for the induction of the rest of the project (Crete-Cyprus-Israel) into the EU’s next PCI list, which ensures EU funding support.

Crete link project needed fast, Euro MP candidates agree

Crete’s electricity grid interconnection with Athens, a project needed to prevent a looming energy shortage threat on the island, must be swiftly developed, Euro MP candidates representing the Syriza, New Democracy, KINAL and Potami parties agreed at an event staged yesterday by Hellenic Production, an industry roundtable for growth organized by both smaller and larger manufacturing companies and the country’s main regional manufacturing associations.

The party officials also questioned, and even condemned, the European Commission’s insistence in supporting EuroAsia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project – for control of the Crete-Athens segment. This persistence has delayed the Cretan project and prompted economic and energy security issues for the island, the Euro MP candidates stressed.

Greek power grid operator IPTO, which chose to withdraw the Crete-Athens segment from the wider project, has been embroiled in a dispute with EuroAsia Interconnector for control of the domestic section.

New Democracy party candidate Maria Spyraki and KINAL’s Eva Kaili both contended that the Crete-Athens interconnection project’s technical specifications, as set by IPTO, will end up sidelining Greek players.

This is burdensome for the Greek econony, Spyraki noted, reminding of the government’s decision for development of the Cretan interconnection as a national project with NSRF funding rather than as a PCI-status project.

All four party representatives agreed energy costs for Greek enterprises need to be reduced. Spyraki, the New Democracy party candidate, referred to a PWC study whose findings show energy costs for Greek industry are 60 percent higher compared to those of European rivals.

 

 

Crete link tender designed to overcome any legal complications

A tender being prepared by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for Crete’s major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens will include terms ensuring the prevention of any legal complications for the procedure, regardless of whether the project will be developed as a national or PCI-status project.

RAE officials have ascertained decisions will soon be reached so that the tender may be launched within May.

The Crete-Athens interconnection is still part of the EU’s PCI list as it was initially incorporated into a wider PCI-status interconnection involving the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems. However, Greece’s power grid operator IPTO withdrew the Crete-Athens segment as a result of a dispute with Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider project, for control of the local segment.

IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis disclosed yesterday that the operator will seek EU structural funds as it views the Crete-Athens as a national project.

Ariadne Interconnection, a special purpose vehicle established by IPTO for the project, is set to submit an application for EU structural funds, Manousakis noted. The official said he is confident of a favorable response from EU authorities as the Crete-Athens link is a project of major importance for the national economy and will ensure long-term energy security for Crete.

An updated PCI list will be finalized in autumn. Until then, the Crete-Athens link will remain a part of the current PCI catalog. Athens officially informed Brussels of its decision to remove the wider interconnection’s Greek segment on April 12.

The Crete-Athens link will be developed as planned and completed within the final quarter of 2022 if no other delays emerge and the tender is launched this month, IPTO officials have noted.

 

 

Euroasia legal action ‘will not delay’ Crete interconnection

Legal action allegedly taken by Euroasia Interconnector against RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, for its decision to grant the power grid operator IPTO control of the development of the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection will not affect the project’s progress, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has told reporters when asked to comment.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, heads a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project. IPTO has taken control of the project’s Crete-Athens segment and established an SPV subsidiary, Ariadne Interconnector, for its development.

Euroasia Interconnector has apparently filed a case against RAE at a Greek court and also submitted an official complaint to the European Commission for infringement of PCI regulations, according to reports. This latter move could pave the way for a  European Court hearing.

RAE has not been informed of any legal action taken by Euroasia Interconnector, officials at the regulatory authority contended.

 

Greek PCI support for Eurosia conditional, minister suggests

Greece’s decision to proceed with the development of the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection as a national project through power grid operator IPTO’s special purpose vehicle Ariadne rather than as part of a wider Euroasia Interconnector project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids has cast doubts over the future PCI status of Euroasia’s Crete-Cyprus and Cyprus-Israel segments.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider project, will need the support of all parties involved if the Crete-Cyprus and Cyprus-Israel segments are to secure a place in the EU’s new PCI list, enabling favorable funding, when the updated list is published later this year, in autumn.

Though Greece’s energy ministry has yet to make its intentions clear, it faces pressure, especially from Cyprus, to support the continued PCI-status of the Crete-Cyprus and Cyprus-Israel segments as their development would end Cyprus’ electricity grid isolation.

Greece’s stance will most likely depend on Euroasia Interconnector’s moves and whether it will seek to obstruct the development of the Crete-Athens interconnection through legal procedures and other action.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has suggested Greece’s support for the wider project’s PCI status would be conditional.

IPTO recently decided to remove the Crete-Athens segment from the wider Greece-Cyprus-Israel interconnection project as the operator was embroiled in a dispute with the Cypriot consortium over the local segment’s control.

RAE expecting extra IPTO data for Ariadne WACC figure

Power grid operator IPTO is currently preparing additional data for RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, requested by the authority to determine the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) and regulated yield for Ariadne, an SPV established by the operator to develop the Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

Besides IPTO, RAE’s WACC decision will also interest investors interested in acquiring a minority stake expected to soon be offered in Ariadne.

IPTO plans to offer an Ariadne stake of less than 49 percent, the most likely figure being a 39 percent share that had been offered to Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project.

IPTO and Euroasia have been embroiled in a dispute for control of the project’s Crete-Athens segment. Euroasia did not respond to a February 28 deadline for this minority share but, instead, has warned of taking action.

IPTO has already submitted a proposal to RAE for the remainder of the regulatory period covering 2018 to 2021. A WACC figure already set by RAE for the national grid for this period, beginning at 7 percent and gradually descending to 6 percent, will serve as a base for the Ariadne figure.

Investors will be invited to submit bids to an Ariadne tender over two stages, beginning with expressions of interest to shortlist contenders, and followed by binding offers. An Internal Rate of Return (IRR)  maximum price will be set as a starting price for a descending price auction.

 

Crete link national development ‘will not burden consumers’

A separation of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection project from the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli interconnection, appearing highly likely, will not financially burden Greek consumers but instead offer surcharge-related benefits, leading energy ministry officials told energypress on the sidelines of the just-completed Delphi Economic Forum.

Swift development of the Crete-Athens link, as a national project, promises to spare consumers of public service compensation (YKO) surcharges costing approximately 400 million euros per year, energy ministry officials stressed.

These YKO surcharges are added to electricity bills to cover high-cost electricity production at power facilities maintained on non-interconnected islands.

The Crete-Athens grid will cost the country roughly one billion euros to develop, regardless of the development option chosen, the energy ministry officials supported.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli project, has claimed a withdrawal of the Crete-Athens grid project from the consortium for development as a national project would deprive Greece of EU funding worth 355 million euros from the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility).

Electricity consumers in Greece will need to cover this amount through increased network surcharges over the long term, the Euroasia Interconnector consortium has warned.

The Delphi Economic Forum was held to identify and assess global trends and their impact on decision makers of the wider eastern Mediterranean region.

RAE requests more IPTO details on Crete link project to set WACC figure

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has requested additional data from power grid operator IPTO to determine the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) and regulated yield for Ariadne, an SPV established by the operator to develop the Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

Moves are also being made to recategorize the Crete-Athens link as a national project rather than a segment of the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project, as has been the case until now.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider project, has just warned that the loss of the Crete-Athens segment’s PCI status will prove costly for Greek consumers.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector have been at odds for control of the wider grid interconnection’s Crete-Athens segment.

Details requested by RAE from IPTO include a precise budget figure for the Crete-Athens link’s total construction cost as well as specific completion and electrification dates.

Until now, IPTO has provided a construction cost figure of 996.4 million euros, not including support and extraordinary costs. A Grant Thorton study has budgeted the project at 1.1 billion euros. Also, a 2022 completion date has been provided but RAE wants the exact month declared.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has set a February 28 deadline for Euroasia Interconnector to recognize IPTO’s Ariadne as the sole project promoter for the Crete-Athens segment.

Euroasia Interconnector is not expected to accept. If so, RAE, immediately following the February 28 deadline, will award the Crete-Athens project to Ariadne as a national project included in IPTO’s investment program.

 

 

IPTO to keep over 51% of SPV for Crete grid interconnection

Power grid operator IPTO has finalized a plan for a tender to seek strategic investors for Ariadne Interconnector, its SPV established by the operator to develop the Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

The IPTO plan is expected to be submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, within the next few days for approval. This could take some time as the grid interconnection, crucial for Crete’s energy needs, will now be categorized as a national project and no longer be part of the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider project, has been embroiled in a dispute with IPTO for control of the Crete-Athens segment.

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has set a February 28 deadline for Euroasia Interconnector to recognize IPTO’s Ariadne as the sole project promoter for the Crete-Athens segment.

Euroasia Interconnector is not expected to accept. If so, RAE, immediately following the February 28 deadline, will award the Crete-Athens project to Ariadne as a national project and a tender for strategic investors should be announced soon after.

Investors are expected to be offered less than a 49 percent stake of the Ariadne Interconnector SPV, the most likely share being 39 percent, the corresponding stake offered to Euroasia Interconnector amid the dispute.

Ariadne is expected to sign a concession agreement for the project’s development. The SPV will hand over the completed project to IPTO and then be compensated through commission fees generated by the project’s utilization.

Euroasia Interconnector is expected to react and demand either a financial sum or a percentage of the project as compensation covering project study costs and other preliminary work.

 

 

IPTO in Crete link talks with RTE, Elia, Scottish Power

Greek power grid operator IPTO has begun its search for strategic partners in the development and operation of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection, sources have informed.

Last week, the operator’s chief executive Manos Manousakis informed a tender offering a stake in Ariadne Interconnector, an SPV established by IPTO for the project’s development, would be launched by the end of February with the aim of selecting new strategic investors within the next three months.

At this stage, IPTO appears to be planning to offer a 49 percent stake of its SPV to strategic partners for the Crete-Athens grid link project, budgeted at one billion euros.

IPTO has already approached three European operators, France’s RTE, Belgium’s Elia and Scottish Power, a subsidiary of Spain’s Iberdrola, the sources informed. Talks between IPTO and RTE, a participant in the power grid operator’s recent sale offering a 24 percent stake, are believed to have made the most progress so far.

IPTO has already taken preliminary pre-construction and financing steps for the Crete-Athens project, needed to combat a looming energy shortage threat on Crete. The operator, determined to pursue the link as a national project, is aiming for a 2022 launch.

IPTO has been embroiled in a dispute with Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project, for control of the Crete-Athens segment.

IPTO plans Crete link tender for Euroasia’s neglected 39%

Greek power grid operator IPTO has announced it will stage a tender offering investors, especially European operators, a stake in Ariadne Interconnector, an SPV established by the grid operator for the development of a Crete-Athens interconnection.

The move was prompted by the neglection of a pre-emption right, for a 39 percent stake in the SPV, by Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project. Euroasia Interconnector had been set a December 31 deadline to accept the offer for 200 million euros.

IPTO and the Cypriot consortium have been embroiled in a dispute for control of the wider grid interconnection project’s Crete-Athens segment.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, which appointed IPTO project promoter of the Crete-Athens link, required to prevent a looming energy shortage threat on Crete, will need to approve IPTO’s plan for a tender before this procedure can go ahead.

Euroasia Interconnector will now need to participate in IPTO’s prospective tender should it ultimately decide to become involved in the development of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection.

IPTO has already begun contacting European energy transmission operators, Manos Manousakis, chief executive at IPTO, informed yesterday. The Greek operator had approached Belgium’s Elia and France’s RTE in the past. A new invitation for their participation cannot be ruled out.

Euroasia Interconnector is widely expected to launch a legal challenge.

Earlier this month, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete forwarded a letter to Greek energy minister Giorgos Stathakis informing him that RAE’s decisions have led to delays in the wider PCI project, according to Greek daily Kathimerini.

The commissioner has apparently asked Greece to decide whether the Crete-Athens grid interconnection will be developed as a PCI project, enabling EU funding advantages, or as a national project, which would eliminate the project’s promoter from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a key EU funding instrument. The repercussions would spill over onto tariffs paid by consumers.