Greece has secured a EUR 178 million long-term loan to finance the construction of the first power interconnector between the mainland and the country’s largest island Crete. The new 132 km submarine power line will ensure the security of energy supply, provide a third of Crete’s electricity needs, reduce the use of oil-fired power plants, and enable the development of renewable energy on the island.
The new 20-year loan, secured by European Investment Bank (EIB), will support 50% of the costs of the Crete-Peloponnese electricity link. The agreement on the loan was signed by representatives of the EIB and the Independent Power Transmission Operation (IPTO or ADMIE) in Athens, the EIB said on its website.
The new interconnector is expected to supply 34-40% of electricity consumed on Crete
The Crete interconnector, comprising two alternating current (AC) 150 kV submarine cables, will be built between the Malea peninsula in the Peloponnese and Kissamos Bay in Crete. The new cable, expected to be operational in 2020, will be up to 1,000 meters below sea level and also provide telecom and internet services.
At present electricity on the island is primarily generated by oil-powered plants using imported fuel oil.
Once operational the new interconnector is expected to supply between 34 and 40% of the electricity consumed on Crete and enable access to renewable energy generated elsewhere in Greece and minimize the risk of electricity shortages during peak periods and high seasonal demand, the EIB said.
The Crete interconnector will be one of the longest submarine power links in the world
The new interconnector will stimulate the development of the wind power sector and hybrid renewable energy in Crete and allow the strong and regular winds on the island to provide clean power for the rest of the country.
Giorgos Stathakis, Minister of Environment and Energy of the Hellenic Republic, said that the power link is one of the biggest projects for safeguarding the increased energy needs of Greece, with significant economic benefits and a high environmental footprint.
“We are very proud that during our tenure, the biggest – so far – project in the history of the Greek Electricity Transmission System is being implemented. The Crete-Peloponnese interconnection exemplifies the benefits of the island interconnections, which are a top priority of IPTO and its main shareholder, the Hellenic State,” said Manos Manousakis, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of IPTO.
Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Greece and global energy financing, said that agreement on the loan is a milestone for the new Crete interconnector, one of the longest submarine power links in the world, that will benefit Greek consumers and help tackle climate change.