Greece’s IPTO plans new power interconnections in Balkans


Photo: jplenio on Pixabay


January 12, 2022







January 12, 2022






New international power interconnections and increased resilience of the transmission grid are the two primary focuses in the ten-year development plan of Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO or Admie) of Greece, submitted for consultation.

Specifically, the new plan calls for total investments of EUR 4 billion during the years 2023-2032, with more than half of the capital expenditure earmarked for the period through 2026.

The main goals of the ten-year plan of the country’s transmission system operator are as follows:

– Upgrade international power interconnections.

– Forward the new interconnection with Egypt, a project that is included for the first time after the agreement between the two countries.

– Seek the best implementation for the new interconnection to Italy.

– The new interconnection to Bulgaria is in its final stretch, with the tender to be concluded within January 2022. The project is expected to upgrade the capacity in the direction Bulgaria-Greece to 1,350 MW and Greece-Bulgaria to 800 MW.

– IPTO has commenced procedures for the new Greece-Albania interconnection.

– Another main goal is to modernize the Greek transmission grid through the use of the latest technologies.

“Through international interconnections to each side of our borders, we are actively helping in deepening the single electricity market and peripheral energy cooperation,” IPTO’s chairman and CEO Manos Manousakis said.

New interconnections to improve international trade and security of supply in the Balkans

Greece, Albania and North Macedonia are among the markets in the Balkan region that are characterized by net electricity imports. Therefore, any improvement in the transmission network within the Balkans’ north-south axis connecting these countries is expected to have significant benefits.

The major interconnections completed during the last few years are Štip (North Macedonia) – Vranje (Serbia), Tirana 2 (Albania) – Kosova B, Lastva (Montenegro) – Villanova (Italy), Bitola (North Macedonia) – Elbasan (Albania) and Reșița (Romania) – Pančevo (Serbia).

The second 400 kV interconnection of Greece-Bulgaria (Nea Santa – Maritza East) is expected to further improve connectivity in the region. The project is a European projects of common interest (PCI) and it is expected to increase flows in the direction Greece-Bulgaria to 800 MW and Bulgaria-Greece to 1,350 MW. Construction in the Bulgarian side commenced in 2020, while in Greece it is expected to begin soon in order to be completed by the end of 2022.

The second interconnection of Greece to Italy is expected to upgrade bilateral flows by 500MW to 1,000 MW. IPTO and Terna have concluded the feasibility study and are working towards the rest of the necessary documents and studies.

Furthermore, IPTO and North Macedonian MEPSO have proposed the upgrading of the existing 400 kV Meliti – Bitola interconnection and are expected to move forward with a feasibility study in the near future.

A working group between Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey is examining different scenarios for increased capacity between their electricity systems. Two new projects, a 400 kV Greece-Turkey line and a new 400 kV Bulgaria-Turkey line have been proposed.

Preliminary talks are being held between IPTO and Albanian operator OST concerning the possibility of building a new 400 kV interconnection.

Upgraded cross-border projects to improve security of supply in the future

New interconnections in the Balkans are considered by the European Union and countries in the region as a vital step in order to ensure the security of supply in the future. It becomes even more urgent given the recent supply issues and the results of the energy crisis and expensive power and gas.

Furthermore, both IPTO and other operators in the Balkans are focusing on the role of energy storage as a way to stabilize supply-demand and lead to an efficient power system in the years after 2030 within an environment of high renewables penetration. In Greece, a large rollout of storage projects is expected after 2025, with a goal of at least 1.5 GW installed by 2030, according to the national energy and climate plan.

Apart from the Balkans, IPTO also focuses on large power interconnections in the Mediterranean region. The most significant project is the Euroasia Interconnector between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. However, another project was added to the operator’s ten-year plan; The interconnection with Egypt, which is already being promoted by the two governments as part of their wider bilateral energy cooperation.

Last but not least, IPTO continues to invest in the underwater connections of non-interconnected Greek islands. Currently, the fourth stage of the Cyclades interconnection is under way, while the operator also focuses on offshore wind planning in order to take advantage of the new connections and connect future wind farms in the Aegean.

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