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.

 

 

IPTO, RAE negotiating WACC rate for disputed Crete link

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is negotiating an official WACC figure with Greek power grid operator IPTO, for the Crete-Athens section of the wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project, headed by Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests.

A 7.3 percent investment yield rate for the project’s Crete-Athens segment previously agreed to by the Greek and Cypriot authorities for energy was only indicative and remains unofficial.

IPTO, granted control by RAE of the Crete-Athens segment, is pushing for a considerably higher WACC rate but RAE insists the figure should be set at a lower level, energypress sources have informed.

The setting of a WACC figure is a crucial step for the development of the Crete-Athens link, needed to prevent an energy shortage threat on Crete as of 2020.

However, an ongoing dispute between the Greek and Cypriot sides for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment is complicating matters.

Euroasia Interconnector has refused to acknowledge the legality of RAE’s decision to appoint IPTO project promoter of the Crete-Athens section. This was made clear, yet again, in a January 18 letter forwarded by the Cypriot consortium to related authorities on both sides of the dispute as well as the European Commission,  expressing the consortium’s refusal to appoint a representative for a technical interoperability committee demanded by Brussels as a supervisory body for the wider PCI project’s compatibility.

Four days earlier, RAE had asked Euroasia Interconnector to appoint a representative for this technical committee by the January 18 date. Instead, in its letter, Euroasia Interconnector described the initiatives taken by RAE as illegal and called for the Greek energy authority to honor commitments set in a road map endorsed by Brussels for the wider PCI project.

 

IPTO aiming for Crete-Athens link tender within February

Ariadne Interconnector, Greek power grid operator IPTO’s subsidiary established as an SPV for the development of the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection, expects to be ready to launch a tender covering all the project’s segments by the end of February, IPTO officials have informed.

Meanwhile, Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium regarding the Crete-Athens link as part of a wider PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project, which it is heading, yesterday finalized its shortlist of candidates for a tender of its own.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, appointed IPTO as the project promoter of the Crete-Athens section without approval from Brussels.

It remains to be seen if the Crete-Athens link will retain its PCI status given the dispute between IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector for control of the Crete-Athens segment.

The Greek side appears determined to pursue the Crete-Athens grid link alone as a national project, without third-party endorsements, including from the European Commission.

As the Greek energy ministry sees it, a two-year delay of the project has now been certified as Euroasia Interconnector failed to officially intervene by December 31. According to the ministry, this delay permits  RAE to handle the Crete-Athens grid link as a national project and, if needed, seek its addition onto the new PCI list, facilitating EU funds.

All is still vague, however, as the European Commission has acknowledged that RAE’s decision to place IPTO at the helm of the Crete-Athens grid link project has caused problems for the wider project’s promoter.

Euroasia deadline for Crete link’s 39% right expires today

A pre-emption right granted to Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a PCI-status Greek-Cypriot-Israeli electricity grid interconnection project, for a 39 percent stake in Ariadne Interconnector, an SPV established by Greek power grid operator IPTO for the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment, expires today.

The Cypriot consortium is not expected to emerge and accept this first option to acquire the SPV’s 39 percent as it doubts decisions taken by RAE, the the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to endorse Ariadne Interconnector and will continue its preliminary work viewing the grid interconnection project as a whole, sources noted.

At the other end, IPTO is making moves to prepare for the construction of the interconnection’s Crete-Athens segment, planned to run from Korakia, on Crete’s northern coast.

The two entities have fought for control of the Crete-Athens segment.

Greek authorities intend to develop the Crete-Athens segment, needed to counter a looming energy insufficiency on Crete as of 2020, as a national project as talks with Euroasia Interconnector, backed by the European Commission, have reached an impasse.

According to the energy ministry, if Euroasia Interconnector does not make today’s deadline, then RAE, basing its actions on a certified two-year delay of the project, will be able to categorize the Crete-Athens segment as a national project and, as follow-up action, if needed, seek to secure PCI status for this interconnection.

 

Crete grid link seen as national project despite EC pressure

The energy ministry appears to have decided to develop the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection as a national project with EU cohesion policy funding through the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014 to 2020, despite intensifying European Commission pressure for this project to be headed by Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider Greek, Cypriot and Israeli PCI-status interconnection project.

Brussels has stepped up its pressure on Greece with a new letter to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, from Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Director at the European Commission’s Directorate B on the Internal Energy Market. It was received by the authority last Thursday.

Athens and Brussels have been at odds over the Crete-Athens link ever since RAE appointed an SPV named Ariadne, a Greek power grid operator IPTO subsidiary, as the project segment’s promoter.

Greek officials are believed to also be considering applying for the Crete-Athens link’s inclusion in a new PCI list to be published by the EU, possibly along with the Crete-Cyprus segment, as part of a new firm, if Nicosia agrees.

The dispute is not expected to affect the development of the Crete-Athens link, needed to prevent an energy shortage threat on Crete as of 2020, when old diesel-fired power stations operated on the island by the main power utility PPC will need to be shut down.

IPTO’s Ariadne plans to officially launch the Crete-Athens project in the first quarter of 2019 and base its development along the lines of a financing formula applied to a smaller-scale Crete-Peloponnese link. IPTO capital, bank financing, as well as EU cohesion funding, covering up to 25 percent of the project’s budget, are intended.

New Brussels warning on Crete link, all lawful Greek side insists

The European Commission has sent local authorities handling the Crete-Athens grid interconnection’s development a new warning to observe terms set by Brussels and nullify a decision giving Ariadne Interconnection, an IPTO power grid operator-backed special purpose vehicle, control of the project or risk losing its PCI status.

The Brussels letter, forwarded to Greece’s energy ministry, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and IPTO, is the latest reminder of the adamant stance being maintained by both sides in the dispute.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider Greek, Cypriot and Israeli PCI-status interconnection plan, have fought for control over the Crete-Athens segment.

All moves made by Greek side are lawful and based on terms agreed to between IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, energy ministry sources have told energypress.

The initiative taken by Greek authorities to give the Ariadne Interconnection SPV control of the Crete-Athens grid link has put in place procedures for the swift development of the interconnection project, pivotal to resolving Crete’s energy shortage threat as of 2020, the ministry sources added.

Diesel-fired power stations operated on the island by the main power utility PPC will need to have stopped running by the end of 2019.

IPTO is currently working on launching a tender for the Cretan interconnection in the first quarter of 2019. An environmental impact study has been submitted while a deep-sea survey has been completed, Manos Manousakis, chief executive at IPTO, informed last week.

 

Crete-Athens link tender announcement seen 1Q of 2019

Power grid operator IPTO, given the green light by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for the development of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection, despite European Commission objections, is pressing ahead and expects to receive approval of its related environmental studies in two to three months before launching a tender by March, 2019.

IPTO, currently progressing based on a schedule set by RAE, has completed various preliminary work, including deep-sea studies, and aims to complete the project by September, 2022.

Greek authorities are planning to keep the main power utility PPC’s diesel-fired power stations on Crete running beyond an end-of-2019 limit set by Brussels to avert an energy supply threat on the island, as was made known earlier this week by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis. His ministry has submitted a related application to Brussels for a deadline extension.

RAE is believed to still be considering various alternative options, including a proposal from Qatar for 200-MW capacity electricity supply to the island via an LNG tanker and generation facility. The cost of this option is believed to equal that of keeping PPC’s current stations running.

A proposal by energy firm Terna entailing the transfer of its gas-fueled Heron I unit, located on the outskirts of Thebes, to Crete is also still on the cards.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids, has contested with IPTO for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment.

RAE to reiterate Crete project link commitments to all parties involved

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, intends to reiterate and seek reconfirmation of commitments taken on by all parties involved in the delayed Crete-Athens grid interconnection’s development via a letter to be forwarded to all, sources have informed. The move is seen as a counterattack following criticism by Brussels officials.

Besides Euroasia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids – Greece’s power grid operator IPTO and its Cypriot counterpart, RAE will also forward copies of the letter to the European Commission and Greece’s energy ministry, for their information.

A dispute between IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector for control over the wider project’s Greek segment has prompted delays.

According to sources, Euroasia Interconnector and the Cypriot power grid operator, in a letter to RAE, recently named their representatives for a committee being assembled to work on ensuring the technical compatibility of the Greek section with the overall grid interconnection project’s Crete-Cyprus and Cyprus-Israel segments. RAE intends to soon name the committee’s Greek representatives, sources informed.

RAE, in its letter, will also highlight the need for the local interconnection project’s swift progress so as to prevent an energy shortage threat on Crete as of 2020 due to EU-required closures of outdated diesel-fired power stations still operating on the island.

Euroasia Interconnector has been granted a deadline extension until the end of the year to present capital needed for its participation in Ariadne, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established by IPTO for the project’s Greek segment, RAE is expected to remind in its letter.

RAE’s overall handling of the matter does not contravene EU regulations or threaten the project’s PCI status, the authority contends.

 

RAE adamant on its Crete link plan despite Brussels objection

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, appears adamant about its recent decision to appoint Greek power grid operator IPTO as project promoter of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection despite objections from the European Commission, insisting Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli PCI-status interconnection project, remains in charge of the Crete-Athens segment.

Latest developments in the dispute indicate RAE will push ahead with details concerning its decision to place IPTO at the helm of the Crete-Athens link within the next fortnight. These details include the provision of an environmental license to IPTO and the assembly of a technical team to work on the Crete-Athens link’s compatibility with the wider project.

In comments to energypress, RAE officials said the authority will push ahead as planned, contending its actions to date comply with EU laws and regulations. The Greek energy authority took action following a report delivered by ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, which confirmed the PCI-status project was two years behind schedule, the RAE sources added.

The concerns of Greek officials are focused on a looming energy sufficiency threat on Crete as of 2020, when high-polluting diesel-fueled power stations operating on the island will need to be withdrawn.

It remains unclear if the dispute will bring together Greece’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete for higher-level talks on the matter.

 

New Athens-Brussels standoff in Crete-Athens link talks

Two teams of Greek energy ministry and European Commission Directorate-General for Energy technocrats have reached an impasse in negotiations held to resolve a dispute concerning control of the Crete-Athens grid link, planned as a segment of the wider Greek, Cypriot and Israeli interconnection.

The failure of the two teams to reach an agreement, needed to prevent a looming energy sufficiency threat on Crete as of 2020, will now elevate the negotiations to a higher political level for direct talks between Greece’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete.

Earlier this week, Canete made clear Greece will not be granted any further deadline extensions beyond December 31, 2019 for diesel-fueled power stations operating on Crete.

Commenting yesterday, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Director at the European Commission’s Directorate B on the Internal Energy Market, declared all negotiating efforts at the current level of talks have now been exhausted.

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli PCI-status interconnection project, have fought for control of the Crete-Athens segment.

The European Commission this week declared that Euroasia Interconnector, the project promoter of the wider Greek, Cypriot and Israeli link, also remains in charge of the Crete-Athens segment. RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, has placed an SPV named Ariadne, an IPTO subsidiary, at this segment’s helm.

Euroasia still at helm of Crete-Athens link, Brussels notes

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids, remains project promoter of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment, while any revisions to this standing would require the consortium’s compliance, the European Commission has pointed out in a letter forwarded to Greece’s energy ministry.

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector have fought for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment.

RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, recently placed an SPV named Ariadne, an IPTO subsidiary with equity capital of 200 million euros, at the helm of the Crete-Athens segment, without consulting Brussels. This initiative is illegal given the content of the latest letter forwarded by the European Commission to the Greek energy ministry.

The European Commission is currently also seeking to fine-tune the tasks of a technical committee, whose establishment has been agreed to in order to ensure the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli project’s compatibility.

Canete: No further extension for Crete’s diesel-run power stations

Greece will not be given any further deadline extensions beyond December 31, 2019 for diesel-fueled power stations operating on Crete, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete has noted.

The Brussels authority was responding to a question raised by Syriza party Euro MP Stelios Kouloglou concerning Crete’s grid interconnection project delays and the island’s consequent energy sufficiency threat – if the existing power stations, high-polluting units, are withdrawn prior to the grid interconnection’s operational launch.

The Cretan interconnection – with the Peloponnese, as a first step, followed by a link with the Athens grid – represents a segment of a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids.

Cypriot energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis has urged his Greek counterpart Giorgos Stathakis to support action that would ensure Greece’s energy-related support for Cyprus and prevent a collapse of the PCI-status project.

The European Commission is working on the wider project’s development with all sides involved, Canete stressed in his response.

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the Greek-Cypriot-Israeli project, have fought for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment.

Athens-Crete grid link issues a ‘concern’ for Cypriot interconnection

Cypriot energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis has urged his Greek counterpart Giorgos Stathakis to support action that would ensure Greece’s energy-related support for Cyprus and prevent the island nation’s isolation in this sector.

Lakkotrypis, who expressed his appeal in a letter forwarded to the Greek energy minister following meetings and telephone discussions, is pushing for a solution that would resolve a dispute between Greek power grid operator IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete. The two sides have fought for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens segment.

The wider project’s development is crucial for EU plans aiming to interconnect the Greek and Cypriot electricity markets and, by extension, the Cypriot and European markets.

 

Compromise reached for Crete-Athens link, tender soon

Greek power grid operator IPTO will remain at the helm of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection, as its project promoter, all sides involved appear to have agreed at a meeting in Brussels yesterday.

The development is in line with the overall position maintained by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis, who has been shown a willingness to discuss various options under the condition that these ensure control of the project for IPTO and a swift launch of its development

Greek officials are believed to have accepted some level of compromise. The details of this softened stance remain unknown but should be included in a document to be forwarded by the European Commission to all interested parties during the current week.

The Crete-Athens interconnection, ready for development in terms of technology and financing, according to IPTO, is crucial to ensure power sufficiency on Crete as of 2020.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests heading the wider PCI-status Greece-Cyprus-Israel grid interconnection project, has fought for control of the Crete-Athens segment with IPTO.

Yesterday’s agreement paves the way for a tender early in 2019 to facilitate the launch of work on the Crete-Athens link.

The Greek and Cypriot regulatory authorities for energy, Greek and Cypriot government officials, as well as representatives of IPTO, Euroasia Interconnector, ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, and Belgian operator Elia, took part in yesterday’s meeting.

IPTO OKs technical committee for Crete link, wants swift action

Power grid operator IPTO will accept the establishment of a technical committee for a supervisory role concerning compatibility between the Crete-Athens grid interconnection and a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, but wants this committee to have delivered its final decisions by November 30 for avoidance of further delays to the Crete-Athens segment.

The Crete-Athens interconnection, ready for development in terms of technology and financing, according to IPTO, is crucial to ensure power sufficiency on Crete as of 2020.

IPTO is expected to present a full plan at a meeting in Brussels today to focus on compatibility issues concerning the Crete-Athens segment and the wider Greece-Cyprus-Israel grid interconnection.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, recently named the SPV “Ariadne Interconnection”, an IPTO subsidiary, the Crete-Athens link’s project promoter. Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, heads the wider Greece-Cyprus-Israel interconnection project. IPTO and Euroasia have fought for control of the Crete-Athens link segment.

The Greek and Cypriot regulatory authorities for energy, Greek and Cypriot government officials, as well as representatives of IPTO, Euroasia Interconnector, ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, and Belgian operator Elia, are all expected to take part at today’s meeting.

Euroasia wants RAE to change its Crete-Athens link decision

Euroasia Interconnector, the consortium of Cypriot interests heading a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, has formally requested RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, to reconsider its decision to recently award a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established by Greek power grid operator IPTO financing and development control of the aforementioned wider interconnection project’s Crete-Athens segment.

This is seen as a first step in what would develop into a full legal challenge if the Cypriot consortium’s request is neglected.

Euroasia Interconnector contends that RAE’s decision to award IPTO control of the Crete-Athens interconnection is invalid as European PCI-project  regulations do not give the Greek energy authority such powers.

The problem for the Greek side is that the argument raised by Euroasia Interconnector is essentially based on the positions expressed, in writing, by the European Commission and ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.

According to sources, Brussels this week forwarded a new letter to Greek officials, warning that the Crete-Athens segment stands to lose its PCI status if RAE’s decision on the SPV, an IPTO subsidiary dubbed “Ariadne”, is not withdrawn or revised.

 

IPTO subsidiary replaces Euroasia as Crete-Athens link project promoter

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has officially declared a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established by Greek power grid operator IPTO as project promoter for the Crete-Athens grid interconnection in place of Euroasia Interconnector, the consortium heading a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete.

The SPV, named Ariadne Interconnector and established as an IPTO subsidiary, has, as a result, been given authority by RAE for the project’s financial matters and development. RAE’s decision on the matter, reached on September 10, was published yesterday in the government gazette.

The European Commission has questioned the purpose and legality of RAE’s move, seen as rushed, to award the IPTO subsidiary control of the Crete-Athens grid link.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, is expected to resort to legal action following yesterday’s publication.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector have been locked in a dispute for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens link.

Athens wants limited powers for Crete-Athens link committee

The role of a technical committee proposed by the European Commission last week to supervise technical requirements of the Crete-Athens link so as to ensure the project’s compatibility with the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli interconnection should be limited to examining the interconnectivity of technical choices and not offer any powers over the project’s technical requirements as a whole, the Greek energy ministry and prime minister’s office have requested, according to energypress sources.

The Greek government has stepped in to add political weight to a dispute prompted by the maneuvering of Greek power grid operator IPTO and Cyprus’s Euroasia Interconnector consortium for control of the Crete-Athens link.

RAE, the country’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, recently awarded IPTO control of the Crete-Athens link project’s development but the European Commission, which rejected this move, responded by calling for a special committee in a supervisory role.

IPTO has already made clear it cannot accept a situation in which the operator would be expected to invest capital while being subject to the control of others.

IPTO, Iberdrola officials to hold Crete-Athens grid link talks

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Spanish energy group Iberdrola representatives have planned a meeting for tomorrow following the latter’s interest for a role in the development of the Crete-Athens grid interconnection project.

IPTO is currently looking to establish partnerships with major European operators for this urgently needed project whose development promises to avert an electricity shortage threat on Crete in 2020. Greece faces an EU obligation to withdraw high-polluting power stations on the island by the end of 2019.

IPTO and Cyprus’s Euroasia Interconnector consortium have been locked in a dispute for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens link.

At a meeting in Brussels on Monday, European Commission officials called for a solution by January that would enable the Greek operator to select project partners as long as technical requirements are supervised by a special committee as a means of ensuring compatibility between the Crete-Athens link and the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli interconnection.

It appears IPTO will not accept the request for the establishment of a special committee. Operator officials reminded that technical details concerning the project, as requested by RAE, were submitted by IPTO in late May and then backed by a sustainability plan.

IPTO officials contend that the European Commission’s handling of the matter is further delaying the project’s development.

The European Commission’s request for a special committee had been initially proposed by the Euroasia Interconnector consortium before being rejected by Brussels as an initiative that would block the project’s development, IPTO officials noted.

 

Crete-Athens link SPV ‘illegal but IPTO can still lead project’

The European Commission’s division for Projects of Common Interest regards an initiative by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, giving Greek power grid operator IPTO and its special purpose vehicle (SPV) development and financial control of a Crete-Athens grid interconnection plan as an illegal act, it made clear at a meeting in Brussels yesterday and called for the decision’s cancellation as a condition for the project to remain a part of Euroasia Interconnector, a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete.

Even so, the Brussels-based PCI team noted it believes IPTO can still spearhead the project’s development and called for a solution by January that would enable the Greek operator to select its project partners as long as technical requirements are supervised by a special committee as a means of ensuring compatibility between the Crete-Athens link and the wider Greek-Cypriot-Israeli interconnection.

IPTO and Cyprus’s Euroasia Interconnector consortium have been locked in a dispute for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens link.

Crete-Athens link project to maintain its PCI status, pundits believe

Pundits believe the European Commission’s division for Projects of Common Interest will decide to maintain the PCI status of a Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection plan at a meeting in Brussels today, as otherwise, the future of the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, would be placed in jeopardy.

The European Commission’s PCI division summoned officials representing all parties involved in a dispute for control of a Crete-Athens to today’s meeting in response to a recent decision by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, giving Greek power grid operator IPTO the task of establishing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the development of Crete’s interconnection with Athens.

According to RAE’s decision, IPTO will hold a 51 percent stake and other shareholders – the Euroasia Interconnector consortium has priority rights – will be offered 39 percent with an option for a further 10 percent.

A decision on the roles to be played by the Euroasia Interconnector consortium and European operators in the Crete-Athens link project’s development is also expected at today’s meeting.

IPTO and the Euroasia Interconnector consortium have been locked in a dispute for control of the Crete-Athens link.

RAE’s Crete-Athens link initiative lawful, IPTO contends

A recent decision by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, to award  Greek power grid operator IPTO and its SPV Ariadne Interconnector development control of Crete’s major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens does not breach the terms of the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, as the initiative puts to action a road map agreed to between the Greece’s regulatory authority and its Cypriot counterpart, IPTO have contended in comments to energypress.

IPTO and Cyprus’s Euroasia Interconnector consortium have been locked in a dispute for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens link.

RAE needed to move ahead with its decision as a project delay in the Crete-Athens link, which threatens to create electricity shortages on Crete as of 2020, was confirmed by ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, the IPTO officials added.

The European Commission’s division for Projects of Common Interest has summoned officials representing all parties involved in the dispute to a Brussels meeting today.

PCI talks for Crete-Athens link rivals at meeting next week

The European Commission’s division for Projects of Common Interest has summoned officials representing all parties involved in a dispute for control of an Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection plan to a Brussels meeting next week to examine whether this project can retain its PCI status and, if so, under what conditions.

The Crete-Athens link is part of the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete.

Greek power grid operator IPTO and Cyprus’s Euroasia Interconnector consortium have been locked in a dispute for control of the wider project’s Crete-Athens link.

The Greek and Cypriot energy ministries and regulatory authorities for energy, as well as Belgian electricity transmission system operator Elia, given an intermediary role by Brussels for the dispute, have been invited to next week’s meeting.

Brussels called next week’s meeting in response to a recent decision by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, handing IPTO the task of establishing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the development of Crete’s urgently needed interconnection with Athens as a venture in which the operator will hold a 51 percent stake and other shareholders – the Euroasia Interconnector consortium has priority rights – will be offered 39 percent with an option for a further 10 percent.

The RAE initiative does not contravene the terms of a MoU signed by IPTO and the Euroasia Interconnector consortium and provides the consortium with an opportunity to participate in the Crete-Athens interconnection project, Greek energy ministry officials have supported in comments offered to energypress.

Crete faces a looming energy sufficiency threat as of 2020 because an exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, ends in December, 2019. A number of power stations on the island will need to be withdrawn.

ACER complaint on Crete-Athens link backs Brussels, project in limbo

Just days after objections were raised by the European Commission, ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, has also expressed its disapproval of a decision by RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, giving power grid operator IPTO permission to establish a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for financing and development control of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens.

ACER, which made clear its discontent – and astonishment – in a letter forwarded to RAE, described the authority’s initiative as a “unilateral move”, energypress sources informed. RAE has yet to respond.

The Crete-Athens interconnection project’s future now appears to be in limbo as this second intervention by a European institution adds further weight to the European Commission’s insinuation that the link would cease to enjoy PCI status and subsequent EU backing if the RAE decision is upheld.

Brussels reacted to the RAE move by noting the authority cannot award Crete’s major-scale interconnection with Athens to any party until the end of the year, the time period given to Euroasia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests responsible for a wider project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids – to decide if it will utilize a right offered for a 39 percent stake, or less, in the venture to develop the Crete-Athens link.

Compatibility concerns have already been raised about four transformers to be installed in the wider Athens area, Crete, Cyprus and Israel for the Euroasia Interconnector.

Also, Cypriot officials, in comments to energypress, cited the emergence of a national issue as Cyprus now finds itself detached from the EU – regarding the project – as a result of the RAE move at a time when the island’s Turkish-occupied northeast is seeking a power grid interconnection with Turkey.

 

 

 

Brussels opposes RAE move giving IPTO Cretan link control

The European Commission has raised objections to last week’s RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) decision awarding power grid operator IPTO financing and development control of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens.

Just days ago, IPTO established a special purpose vehicle (SPV) named Ariadne for the project.

Brussels, in an email forwarded to all parties involved, noted that RAE cannot award Crete’s major-scale link with Athens to any party until the end of the year, the time period given to Euroasia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests responsible for a wider PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids – to decide if it will utilize a right offered for a 39 percent stake, or less, in the venture to develop the Crete-Athens link.

The European Commission’s move essentially comes as a warning suggesting the Crete-Athens link will be regarded as a national Greek project rather than a PCI-status European project if RAE’s decision to award IPTO the project remains valid.

The Euroasia Interconnector consortium wants to avoid legal action but cannot exclude such an outcome, sources informed.

IPTO establishes SPV for major-scale Cretan link

Power grid operator IPTO has established a special purpose vehicle (SPV) named Ariadne Interconnection for the financing and development of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens.

Last week, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, decided to award IPTO control of the project’s development. The authority could set official terms during the day. RAE has already given IPTO a related road map whose content includes advice on financing through the Europe Connecting Facility (CEF), an EU funding instrument developed specifically to direct investment into European transport, energy and digital infrastructures.

The Ariadne Interconnection SPV, established as a wholly owned subsidiary of IPTO, will begin operating with startup capital of 200 million euros. It will be responsible for the Greek segment of the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete.

Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests responsible for the wider project, has been given until December 10 to decide if it will utilize a right offered for a 39 percent stake, or less, in the venture to develop the Crete-Athens link.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector have been involved in an extended dispute for control of the wider project’s Cretan segment.

IPTO has been given the right to stage a tender offering the venture’s remaining 10 percent. Belgian operator Elia and France’s RTE have both expressed interest.

 

 

RES producers excluded from Cretan major-scale link’s SPV

Certified network operators, primarily, and possibly financial institutions, will be entitled to take on minority roles in a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to soon be established by Greece’s power grid operator IPTO for the development of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens.

Companies with existing electricity production roles will not be able to participate in the SPV, whose 10 percent will be offered through a tender. This essentially means holders of licenses of major wind energy projects on Crete will not be able to join the SPV.

The Euroasia Interconnector consortium, responsible for the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, will be offered priority rights for a 39 percent minority stake. If this consortium does not exercise this priority right for all or any of the 39 percent it is entitled to, then any leftover portion will be added to the 10 percent stake to be offered to certified network operators and, perhaps, financial institutions.

IPTO is rushing to form the SPV in an effort to counter to Crete’s looming energy sufficiency threat as of 2020 because an exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, ends in December, 2019. A number of power stations on the island will need to be withdrawn.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, have been involved in an extended dispute for control of the wider project’s Cretan segment.

The SPV will initially stand as a wholly-owned IPTO subsidiary and, three months later, by the end of the year, a tender will be staged inviting investor-operators to bid for a minority stake in the venture.

Belgian network operator Elia and France’s RTE have both expressed interest in the major-scale Cretan interconnection project. It remains unclear if they will seek to join the Euroasia Interconnector consortium for part of the SPV’s 39 percent stake or focus on the 10 percent stake.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, awarded IPTO the task of swiftly establishing a special purpose vehicle, and its majority 51 percent stake, this week in a decision that runs against a European Commission initiative that gave the Euroasia Interconnector consortium until the end of the year to resolve its dispute with IPTO. The European Commission has yet to offer an official response.

It is not yet clear if the issue will be added to the agenda for upcoming talks between the government and post-bailout inspectors.

IPTO given control and task of forming SPV for urgent Cretan link

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has decided to award Greece’s power grid operator IPTO the task of swiftly establishing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the development of Crete’s urgently needed major-scale electricity grid interconnection with Athens, sources have informed, confirming a previous energypress report.

Highlighting the level of urgency the matter has acquired, IPTO officials were informed of the decision over the phone and asked to set up an SPV as soon as possible.

Crete faces a looming energy sufficiency threat as of 2020 because an exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, ends in December, 2019. A number of power stations on the island will need to be withdrawn.

According to sources, the SPV will initially stand as a wholly-owned IPTO subsidiary while, three months later, by the end of the year, a tender will be staged inviting investor-operators to bid for a minority 49 percent stake in the venture.

The Euroasia Interconnector consortium, responsible for the wider Euroasia Interconnector, a PCI-status project planned to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids via Crete, will be offered priority rights for a 39 percent minority stake, as noted in a Memorandum of Cooperation signed by IPTO and the Euroasia Interconnector consortium.

If Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, does not exercise this priority right, then the minority 39 percent stake will be offered to network operators such as Belgium’s Elia or France’s RTE, both of which have expressed interest. They would be expected to also seek acquiring the remaining 10 percent stake.

IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, a consortium of Cypriot interests, have been involved in an extended dispute for control of the wider project’s Cretan segment.

The RAE decision comes as a counterproposal to a European Commission initiative that gave the Euroasia Interconnector consortium until the end of the year to resolve its dispute with IPTO. But it does give the consortium some time to decide.

 

 

Brussels gives Elia intermediary role for delayed Cretan link

The European Commission has given the Belgian electricity transmission system operator Elia an intermediary role to seek solutions for the development of the major-scale Cretan interconnection, both in terms of the line-up of the consortium to undertake the project and technical details.

Brussels has decided to take initiatives following the breakdown in negotiations this summer between Greece’s power grid operator IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector – a consortium of Cypriot interests awarded the development of the wider PCI-status Euroasia Interconnector to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids – for development control of the Athens-Crete segment of the wider link.

Crucial decisions will need to be made in September on the schedule and method of development of the project, crucial for the the country’s grid.

The European Commission has extended a Euroasia Interconnector consortium deadline until the end of the year, for progress solutions, before the Euroasia Interconnector project is officially branded a delayed PCI project. Euroasia Interconnector will need to find solutions over the next four months.

Meanwhile, RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, facing a looming energy sufficiency threat on Crete as of 2020, is seeking to commission the Crete-Athens link’s development as soon as possible. An exemption to EU law concerning power station emission limits for local high-polluting units, such as those operating on Crete, will cease to apply at the end of 2019 and force the closure of units.

Responding to the summer’s failed talks between IPTO and Euroasia Interconnector, the European Commission appears to have indicated that the Euroasia Interconnector project cannot be broken down into two separate projects – as a PCI-status Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grid link and a national Athens-Crete link.

Elia and IPTO officials are scheduled to hold a meeting in Athens on September 3. The Elia board is also likely to convene for a discussion on the matter this coming autumn, possibly within the month of September.

RAE, on edge as a result of the energy sufficiency threat on Crete, has indicated it will reach decisions for the Crete-Athens link by September 12.

Also, Greek, Cypriot and Israeli officials are expected to stage a top-level three-way meeting within September to discuss energy matters, especially the Euroasia Interconnector issue, as well as East Med, the natural gas pipeline plan.