Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) has unveiled a 4.1 billion euro investment plan 2022-2031, which was put up for public debate on Tuesday. IPTO's medium-term plans target new international electrical interconnections, new upgrade projects of the National Transmission System at High (150 kV) and Ultra High Voltage (400 kV) and improving the reliability of the network to boost credibility under the weight of growing RES penetration. The investment blueprint includes proposals for pilot projects for electricity storage on the islands and the mainland.
The development of international links plays a central role in its development strategy, as it contributes substantially to the stability of the power system and the convergence of prices between different European regions. In this context, IPTO is in cooperation with neighboring peers to evaluate the alternatives of strengthening transnational interconnections.
- Greece-Bulgaria: For the new interconnection with a 400 kV overhead line linking the two countries, an acceleration of six months iforeseen, with a completion date set for the middle of 2022.
- Greece-Italy: In the next period, IPTO and TERNA will examine the alternative solutions for the development of a new submarine interconnection between the Greek and Italian systems, while at the same time the possibility of utilizing existing infrastructure will be explored. According to current estimates, the need for reinforcement (new interconnection power) ranges between 500 - 1000 MW.
- Greece-Albania: The operators of the two countries are investigating the design of a new 400 kV interconnector line between the southern transmission system of the neighboring country and a suitable High Voltage Center in the Greek System.
- Greece-Northern Macedonia: The operators are studying scenarios for upgrading the existing 400 kV interconnection between the countries.
Electrical power storage
In the course of the energy transition to the new era, the key role that storage systems can acquire emerges, as their integration into
the electrical system offers multiple advantages that optimize its operation. The new investment plan includes a proposal for a pilot project for the installation of battery systems in Naxos, with a capacity of 7 to 10 MW, with a completion schedule within 2022.
Similar plans are foreseen in the region of Central Greece, where storage projects will contribute significantly to the decongestion of the network arising from high RES penetration.
High RES penetration
The achievement of the long term energy objectives require the acceleration of the procedures for the integration of new RES units on a large scale. Particular plans for the installation of RES units are expected to contribute in this direction, which, however, require the implementation of important electricity transmission projects. With the interconnection of the Aegean islands and the expansion of the 400 kV Transmission System in the Peloponnese, IPTO is laying the foundations for the creation of a 3 GW space for the integration of new RES units in the domestic energy system.
The expansion of the Interconnected Transmission System in the island area creates the conditions for the development of offshore wind farms, as it significantly reduces the distances for the transfer of electricity from the source of production to connection points in the system. In this context, there is a need for an integrated plan for the development of strategic infrastructure in the maritime area with the aim of the optimal "joint" connection of offshore wind farms or wind farms on islands belonging to different producers.
The President and CEO of IPTO, Manos Manousakis, stated: “The ten-year program that the operator prepares each year are not a theoretical exercise. They are clear implementation plans with ambitious but achievable schedules. In the last 3.5 years, we have unlocked through the electrical interconnections investments of 2.2 billion euros and we have implemented projects that were stuck for many years. In the next period, an even greater acceleration of investments is expected through the new perspectives that are opened with the interconnection of large RES projects, the development of offshore wind farms and with the new energy storage technologies."