Energy ministry officials intend to examine National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funding possibilities for power line network undergrounding, triple the cost of overhead power lines, following the recent destructive fires around the country.
The country has specific EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) money, totaling 187 million euros, at its disposal for power line projects.
Given the average cost for power line network undergrounding, at 85,000 euros per kilometer, factoring in low and medium-voltage prices, the aforementioned RRF amount would be enough to develop about 2,200 kilometers, just a tiny fraction of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s total network. Undergrounding the country’s entire network would require an estimated 18.3 billion euros.
The high cost has limited the country’s power line undergrounding plans for the next five years to approximately 2,150 kilometers.
The operator has already undergrounded 10 percent of its 240,000-kilometer network, leaving a further 216,000 kilometers for potential undergrounding.
Overhead medium-voltage power line development costs approximately 30,000 euros per kilometer. Overhead low-voltage lines cost 25,000 euros per kilometer, compared to 70,000 euros for undergrounding.
Given the increased threat of forest fires brought about by hotter temperatures attributed to the climate change crisis, power line network undergrounding would provide protection to the network.