Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator said construction works are beginning for the first leg of the Great Sea Interconnector, to link Crete and Cyprus.
Six months after assuming the role of project promoter and taking a 25% share, and amid discussions for the entry of several other investors, IPTO (or Admie in Greek) announced that the construction of the cable section of the Great Sea Interconnector has commenced. The partners recently changed its name from EuroAsia Interconnector.
The proposed 1,208-kilometer high voltage direct current (HVDC) link between Greece and Israel via Cyprus would currently be the longest in the world. The first part to be installed is between Crete and Cyprus, with a length of 898 kilometers, the statement adds. It is envisaged to have another 25 kilometers on land.
Officials already declared start of works last year
The mass impregnated 525 kV cable between the two islands is officially planned to be commissioned in 2028, but it was affected by delays over the past few years. In fact, Greek, Cypriot and European Union officials declared the start of works more than one year ago.
The Great Sea Interconnector is seen with 1 GW in capacity and a possibility to double it. The current phase is estimated at EUR 1.57 billion including the largest-ever grant through the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility so far – EUR 657 million.
French company Nexans has won a EUR 1.43 billion deal to supply and lay the subsea cable between the two islands
IPTO now revealed that it has instructed Nexans to reserve the necessary cable production slot. It is the first milestone since it signed a EUR 1.43 billion deal in July with the French contractor. IPTO added that it has received EUR 55 million and paid the first installment to Nexans.
The planned power link between Greece and Cyprus is part of the EU’s list of projects of common interest (CPI).
Partners negotiating on lending package with EIB, commercial banks
Independent Power Transmission Operator said it has also signed an agreement with Israeli fund Aluma. Furthermore, investment funds from the United States and other countries have expressed interest, it noted. The government-controlled company earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Energy, Trade, and Industry of Cyprus and TAQA from the United Arab Emirates.
Cyprus is contributing EUR 100 million from its National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The other contractor is Siemens. The German company is tasked with conducting studies for two converter stations on both sides. The next step would be to sign the contract to install them.
Consultations with the European Investment Bank and commercial banks on the lending side are ongoing, IPTO said. The interconnection is poised to lower electricity costs for consumers in Cyprus and end its energy isolation. It is the only non-interconnected EU member state.
IPTO is working to establish and strengthen interconnections with all of Greece’s neighbors, too, as well as with Egypt, and participating in projects for power corridors from Poland to Saudi Arabia.