Without any fanfare, the IPTO (Independent Power Transmission Operator) administration managed a few days ago to electrify one (since the second has not been installed…) of the two cables of the Peloponnese – Crete electricity interconnection. According to credible information, the IPTO is electrifying the interconnection 24 hours a day, although there is no real flow of electrical loads between the two systems (the mainland system and the one of Crete) even with one cable, in order to show that the project is completed…
According to (currently) unconfirmed information, the electrification is done so the IPTO can start collecting revenue through the depreciation of the investment, which will be paid by the consumers, according to the relevant provisions of the regulatory framework, although the fundamental interconnection between mainland Greece and Crete is not yet completed.
The so-called “small interconnection” with Crete (the large one is the Attica-Crete interconnection) consists of two submarine cables of 200 MW each, underground cables a few kilometers long in both Peloponnese and Crete, as well as aerial sections in these two areas to connect them with existing systems.
In the aerial section of the Peloponnese, which was built from Molaoi to the substation of Sklavouna ( this is the finishing point of the underground cables that start in the coastal area where the submarine cables from Crete come out of the sea), the tender provided for the installation of a superconductor (with special material to reduce heat emission) so that the total transmission capacity to and from Crete could reach 180 MW.
Also, there is provision for inductance meters to be installed in Crete and the Peloponnese in order to regulate the voltage, as it is known that an underwater connection of such kind greatly raises the voltage level at the ends of the cables.
Eventually, to date, only one cable has been installed by NEXANS, while the second cable is expected, if all goes well in the upcoming tests, to be installed by June 2021.
In addition, much of the submerged cable has not been buried, although it was supposed to be. Executives who monitor the project claim that “the inductance meters that have been installed have not been accepted by the competent services in order for the connection to work safely, and the instructions given in order to make even the first electrification test of the cable possible are pushing the limits of the system’s safe operation”
Finally, “there are serious construction issues in the whole project and in its two land sections that render it unsafe”. For instance, a simple conductor was installed in the Peloponnese section, while the superconductor will be installed later, after the existing one is removed, a process that will require a time of about five months and additional, high construction costs.