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Crete Connects to Electrical Grid of Mainland Greece

Undersea power cable
The undersea power cable being laid. Credit: ADMIE – Independent Power Transmission Operator

Greece announced on Thursday the completion of the construction of an undersea power cable between Crete and the Peloponnese which will provide the island with a cheaper and more secure energy supply.

The mammoth project was undertaken by Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) and the Prysmian Group, which designed, supplied and installed the cable.

It included laying two new submarine cables – each 135 km (83.8 miles) long – making this the longest undersea power connection in the world.

An innovative cable-system technology was installed, based on a synthetic armor 30% lighter than steel, at a maximum water depth of approximately 1,000 meters (3,284 feet) for the first time.

The project, which has a total value of €125 million, was awarded in 2018 by IPTO, which operates the transmission system for Greece’s power grid.

Crete Greece power
Credit: The Prysmian Group

The first interconnection of Crete to the mainland of Greece is expected to go online over the next few months, ensuring reliable, affordable and sustainable power transmission.

Additional work included upgrading and construction of transmission lines, underground cables and substations on Crete and on the mainland.

The connection points for the submarine cables are at Kissamos Bay in Crete and the Malea peninsula in Peloponnese.

The cables run overhead, underground and in the sea. The works also included the construction of a synchronous compensator, a motor that is used to maintain a constant grid voltage, on Crete.

Undersea power cable to cut cost of electricity on Crete

The aim of the project is to cut the cost of electricity generation on Crete by replacing expensive and polluting oil-fired units with a more efficient alternative from across the Ionian Sea.

The new link contributes to an increase in electricity generated from renewable sources for use by the island’s residents and businesses. The interconnector will provide around 34% of Crete’s total electrical demand in 2021.

“The interconnection of Crete to the mainland has been a long-term aspiration for the Greek people and it now comes true in record time,” stated Manos Manousakis, BoD Chairman & CEO of IPTO.

“The technology of high strength synthetic fibers – used for first time in this project- secures low weight and good mechanical performance, ideal for the high-depth Greek seas. The innovative technology used in Crete-Peloponnese project paths the way for reliable and resilient undersea interconnections in the challenging Aegean Sea,” he added.

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