A 24-hour electrification test of the first submarine cable that will connect the island of Crete with mainland power grids was successfully conducted, Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator SA (IPTO) announced on Wednesday.
The test run, which connected with power grids in Attica and the Peloponnese, surpassed expectations and exceeded technical standards achieved in similar projects worldwide, said IPTO.
The eastern part of the interconnection comprises of two submarine cables, a new electrode substation in the Peloponnese and an upgraded electrode substation in the Cretan city of Chania.
Both cables, 132 km and 42 km, connect Crete with the Peloponnese.
The project involves the longest alternating-current (A/C) cable in the world, at 174 km.
It also includes the longest underwater high-voltage cable connection (132 km).
In addition, it also the deepest underwater high-voltage cable connection, at 1,000 meters below surface level.
The project will enable the transmission of 150 kV high-voltage electricity loads from mainland Greece to Crete for the first time.
It is also expected to reduce CO2 emissions in Crete by 60%.
Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said the successful test run marks the “penultimate step before completion”, and noted that some of the costs will be covered by the EU Recovery Fund.
Crete’s interconnection to the rest of Greece will cost a total of 356 million euros and is already being funded by the European Union and by loans granted by the European Investments Bank.
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 electricity demand in 2021.