IPTO successfully electrified the first subsea cable linking Crete to the mainland power grid, which is also the largest subsea AC interconnection in the world.
The completion of the 24-hour test electrification signifies a historical success for the Operator and the contractors, as they faced up to the significant technological challenges with effectiveness and technical efficiency, transcending -to a considerable extent- what has been achieved so far in similar international projects.
It is noted that the eastern circuit of the interconnection, that was electrified, consists of the following subprojects:
1. Submarine cable with a length of 132 km between Chania, Crete and Neapoli, Lakonia (Contractor: PRYSMIAN),
2. Underground cables with a length of 42 km in Crete and Peloponnese (Contractors: HELLENIC CABLES S.A. and FULGOR S.A.),
3. New substation in eastern Peloponnese and upgrading of the existing substation in Chania (TERNA S.A.).
The power link of Crete and Peloponnese is called the "interconnection of the records" as it is:
- The longest AC cable interconnection in the world (174 km).
- The longest submarine high voltage interconnection in the world with a triplex cable of XLPE isolation (132 km).
- The deepest submarine high voltage interconnection in the world with a triplex cable of XLPE isolation (at a depth of 1,000 m.).
The project also entails important management difficulties, as the new interconnection extends from Megalopolis all the way to Chania and Heraklion, Crete, including a total of eight towns in its design. In this respect, IPTO consulted with local bodies and authorities aiming to mitigate potential nuisances and search for optimal solutions, such as undergrounding of transmission lines, where possible.
The project has a total budget of 356 million euros and is being implemented with the co-financing of Greece and the European Union as well as a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Mr. Kostis Hatzidakis, Minister for Environment and Energy stated:
"The test electrification of Crete-Peloponnese interconnection means that crucial infrastructure, not only for Crete but for the country in general, is just one step away from its completion. It is a milestone for the planning of island interconnections, as they are truly "green" projects with an exceptionally positive environmental and socio-economic footprint. That is why the Ministry of Environment and Energy supports the acceleration of these projects, which will also be financed by the Recovery Fund."
Mr. Manos Manousakis, President and CEO of IPTO, commented in this regard:
''The first interconnection of Crete with the mainland system is a reality. After the completion of the trial electrification we can definitely say that the "energy exclusion" of Crete is now lifted. We are very satisfied about the fact that we managed to electrify the "interconnection of the records", precisely two years after the signing of the relevant contracts. We accomplished it thanks to the devotion of our employees, despite the adversities and the technical challenges. With the timely implementation of emblematic projects, IPTO meets the challenge of electric interconnections in defiance of the pandemic crisis."