The energy ministry, striving to replace overhead power lines with underground networks for the infrastructure’s protection following recent fire-related damages, preceded by snowstorm damages last winter, has taken measures to clear the way of any possible bureaucratic delays and is also seeking to secure additional funds for the undergrounding work.
Legislative revisions recently ratified in Parliament include a measure facilitating fast-track power line undergrounding by operators through forest land without them having to wait for approval from forestry officials, which has been customary practice.
As a result, distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO and power grid operator IPTO can now proceed with power line undergrounding projects without delay or cancellation risks. This applies for both new power line networks and replacement of older ones.
The country has, at its disposal, EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) money totaling 187 million euros for power line projects.
However, given the average cost of power line network undergrounding, estimated at 85,000 euros per kilometer, the aforementioned RRF amount would suffice for the development of about 2,200 kilometers, just a tiny fraction of the country’s existing overhead power lines.
Besides the RRF, the energy ministry is also considering to exhaust funding support possibilities through the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) for the power line undergrounding expansion projects, now regarded as essential due to the growing impact of the climate change crisis.