Connecting Greece’s Cyclades Islands to the mainland’s power grid

The EU-funded Interconnection of Cyclades Islands project is a technically complex initiative aimed at ensuring the reliable, economic supply of electricity to the Greek islands of Syros, Paros, Tinos, Mykonos, and Naxos. Rolled out over three phases over 14 years, when complete all the Cyclades Islands will get their electricity from the mainland.

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Due to various environmental factors, Greece’s Cyclades Islands have not been able to install new autonomous power stations for electricity production. Instead, they have had to make do using oil and natural gas – which are expensive and not environmentally friendly.

To overcome this limitation, this EU-funded project is connecting the Cyclades islands to the mainland’s power grid, thus providing a reliable supply of electricity for the next 30 to 40 years. As a result, the islands will be able to reduce both energy production and use costs while improving their environmental footprint.

Three phases

In total, the project will install over 300 km of submarine cables, with 152.4 km having already been laid. These cables run from the mainland’s power stations to the various islands. The connections are being made in three phases. 

In phase A, which started in March 2018, the Syros oil-based power station went offline as the island was connected to the Hellenic Electricity Transmission System via the Lavrion GIS substation on the mainland. Today, the electricity needs of Syros, Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Koufonissi, Schinoussa, Iraklia, Ios, Sikinos, and Foleganros are all covered by the mainland electricity transmission system.

During phase B, Paros and Naxos will be connected to the mainland, and Naxos with Mykonos island. Finally, in phase C, a second interconnection between the mainland (Lavrion) and Syros will be made.

Substantial environmental benefits

The project offers a substantial environmental advantage. Not only does it reduce the energy required to power the islands, it also means the islands’ archaic, high-emission oil and natural gas stations can be shut down. By using underwater cables instead of overhead transmission lines, the project avoids disturbing the islands’ unique natural environment. Furthermore, the project’s infrastructure is designed to be able to make use of the islands’ vast renewable energy potential.

Benefiting the Greek economy 

According to project coordinators, the Cyclades Interconnection is an important project for the Greek economy. By providing high-voltage electricity, it is boosting both tourism and economic activity. At the same time, the burden on consumers (through the public service obligations) is reduced as electricity consumers on the mainland will no longer be required to subsidise the electricity generated by the islands’ old power stations.

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Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “The Interconnection of Cyclades Islands with the National Mainland Interconnected Transmission System” is EUR 389 059 862, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 138 176 324 through the “Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship” and “Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation” Operational Programmes for the 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 programming periods. The investment falls under the priority “Energy Union and Climate”. 

 

Draft date

30/09/2019