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.

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.