The world’s longest alternating current cable system is functional, as the first power interconnection between Crete and mainland Greece was successfully tested. The link with the Peloponnese peninsula is 174 kilometers long, of which 132 kilometers are on the seabed.
Independent Power Transmission Operator, also known as Admie or IPTO, said the 24-hour test drive of its submarine interconnector between Peloponnese and Crete, the biggest island in Greece, was successful. Italy’s Prysmian laid 132 kilometers of the link under the Sea of Crete. The remainder of the 174 kilometers runs underground on both sides, making it the longest high voltage alternating current (HVAC) cable system in the world.
It is the longest undersea triplex cable interconnection with cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation, while it has the biggest depth on the planet as well, as much as 1,000 meters, the state-controlled firm said. There are only a handful of longer direct current submarine cables in the world.
European, Greek government funds included in Peloponnese-Crete interconnector project
A second cable, to the west from the first one, is expected to be installed in the first quarter. The overall 150 kV project is worth EUR 356 million. It can cover as much as 34% of the power demand in Crete. Admie secured a twenty-year loan of EUR 178 million from the European Investment Bank in May of last year, while the interconnection is also backed with government funds.
The cable’s capacity will match a third of demand in Crete
The cable connects Megalopolis in central Peloponnese with Heraclion, the biggest city on the island. The subsea portion goes from Chania in Crete to Neapoli Voion.
Cablel and Fulgor laid the underground part and Terna built the substation in the Peloponnese and upgraded the Chania unit. The project spans eight cities.
Greece’s biggest island to be connected to Cyprus
Admie’s Chairman and CEO Manos Manousakis said it is now certain that the “energy blockade of Crete” would be lifted and that the system was switched on two years after the first contracts were signed. The interconnector will help the development of renewables in Greece’s largest island.
Of note, Admie is working on a EUR 1 billion project for an even longer cable, between Crete and the Attica peninsula, via its Ariadne Interconnection subsidiary. It is scheduled to come online in 2023 and boost the capacity to supply the island entirely. Crete is currently dependent on fossil fuel for its electricity.
The EuroAsia Interconnector should link Israel with Europe via Cyprus and Crete.
Admie’s investment plan for the next ten years is worth EUR 4.4 billion. The transmission system operator has just picked Mytilineos for the reconstruction of the Koumoundourou high-voltage center. The project is worth EUR 46 million. The transmission hub will be connected both with Megalopolis and the future Crete-Attica line.