Greece’s independent transmission system operator, IPTO, plans to invest EUR 4.1 billion over the next 10 years to build new interconnections with Bulgaria, Italy, Albania, and North Macedonia, as well as to increase capacities for the integration of renewables and install batteries for electricity storage.
The possible new interconnections include a subsea cable between Greece and Italy, a project that will be discussed with Italy’s Terna over the coming period. Possibilities of utilizing existing infrastructure will be also explored. According to current estimates, the need for reinforcement in terms of new interconnection power ranges between 500 MW and 1,000 MW, IPTO said in a press release.
The new interconnection with Bulgaria, with a 400 kV overhead line, is now targeted for completion in mid-2022, or six months ahead of the original schedule, IPTO said.
Also, discussions are under way on the design of a new 400 kV interconnection line between the southern transmission system of Albania and a suitable high-voltage center within the Greek system. At the same time, scenarios for upgrading the existing 400 kV interconnection with North Macedonia are also being evaluated, IPTO said.
Renewables integration on a large scale calls for major power transmission projects
When it comes to renewables, the integration of new power plants on a large scale is expected to help meet the goals set by the country’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the year 2030 and the long-term energy planning for 2050. However, this requires the implementation of significant power transmission projects.
With the interconnection of the Aegean islands and the expansion of the 400 kV transmission system on the Peloponnese, IPTO paves the way for the creation of 3 GW capacity which will allow the integration of new renewables. The power transmission infrastructure provided for in the 10-year plan meets the objectives of the NECP for the inclusion of renewables in the energy mix by 2030, the company said.
The transmission system expansion on the islands will pave the way for offshore wind projects
The expansion of the interconnected transmission system on the islands creates the conditions for the development of offshore wind farms, by significantly reducing distances between the sources of power generation and the transmission system’s connection points.
“In this context, the necessity for a comprehensive plan emerges with respect to the development of strategic infrastructure in the sea, aiming to establish optimal “joint” connections of offshore wind farms or wind farms on islands, belonging to different producers,” IPTO said in the press release, adding that it can address these needs as it possesses the know-how and experience for both the design and the implementation of offshore high-voltage interconnection networks.
IPTO also plans to develop electricity storage systems on Naxos and in central Greece
The plan includes a proposal to install electricity storage (battery) systems on the island of Naxos, with a capacity of 7 MW to 10 MW, by the end of 2022. Similar plans are expected in central Greece, where storage projects will contribute substantially to local congestion management due to high renewables penetration, IPTO said, noting that storage systems have a key role in energy transition.