Euroasia Interconnector, Crete link association discussed

Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group are engaged in talks with Euroasia Interconector and IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, in an effort to co-develop Crete’s interconnection with the Greek mainland.

An effort is being made to associate the Cretan interconnection with the grander Euroasia Interconnector, an ambitious project to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli grids. The Euroasia Interconnector has already been classified as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), enabling EU funding.

In March, Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group decided to merge two major wind farm projects planned for Crete so as to facilitate financing procedures stemming from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), commonly refered to as the “Juncker package”.

The two companies plan to co-develop wind farm projects with a total capacity of 950 MW in all four Cretan prefectures. Terna Energy and the Copelouzos group have also joined forces for the island’s interconnection with the mainland, a 320-kilometer submarine crossing whose development is planned to commence in 2019. This project’s budget is worth 2.4 billion euros.

Terna Energy company officials told a general shareholders’ meeting yesterday that the project’s licensing procedure is not easy as local authorities have raised objections, adding that the company is working on issues together with regional Cretan authorities.

On a visit to Israel earlier this month, Greece’s Digital Policy, Media and Telecommunications Minister Nikos Pappas proposed that the Euroasia Interconnector, to cover 1,519 kilometers, include a fiber optics connection between Israel and Greece.

An agreement between Greece’s main power utility PPC and China’s SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China) for the latter’s acquisition of a 24 percent stake in the power grid operator IPTO, a PPC subsidiary, is expected to provide further financial support for the Euroasia Interconnector. The prospect was discussed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his recent visit to China.

A consortium comprised of PPC and Quantum Energy, Israel’s Electric Corporation, is participating in the Euroasia Interconnector project, planned to have a 2,000-MW capacity and be installed at depths of as much as 2,000 meters. Its budget is estimated at 1.5 billion euros.

An EU-supported detailed preliminary study concerning the interconnection’s first stage, offering a 1,000-MW capacity, is planned to begin this June. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a key EU funding instrument supporting trans-European networks and infrastructures in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy, will fund half the first stage’s cost, whose total is worth 29 million euros.