Wednesday, July 24, 2024

€307 Million Allocated for Italy-Tunisia Subsea Interconnection

As the global energy transition gains momentum, significant efforts are underway to address the challenges that hinder the modernization and development of European energy infrastructure. The European Union (EU) has taken a significant step towards a greener energy future by signing a grant agreement to establish the first direct current interconnection between Europe and Africa. This groundbreaking initiative has been enthusiastically welcomed by Terna, Italy’s transmission power grid operator, and Steg, the Tunisian electricity and gas company, who will oversee the Italy-Tunisia electricity interconnection project.

Terna recently announced that the grant agreement for the Elmed electrical interconnection between Italy and Tunisia was signed during the fourth edition of the PCI Energy Days in Brussels. This agreement has secured €307 million in financing from the European Commission for the subsea power line connecting the two countries.

Kadri Simson, the EU Commissioner for Energy, commented on the significance of the Elmed electricity cable link, stating that it stands out in numerous ways. Notably, it is the first project under the Connecting Europe Facility to receive funding for works on an electricity infrastructure project developed jointly by a member state and a third country. Simson extended congratulations to Elmed for showcasing true interconnectivity in practice and expressed best wishes for the project’s success.

The invisible energy bridge, which will connect Europe and North Africa, will be implemented by Terna and Steg. It is expected to facilitate better integration of renewable energy on both continents and promote the diversification of energy sources.

Giuseppina Di Foggia, CEO and General Manager of Terna, emphasized the strategic importance of Elmed as an infrastructure project for Italy and Europe. It is considered one of the cornerstones of Terna’s development plan and will contribute to the increase and integration of renewable energy sources on both continents. Di Foggia affirmed Terna’s commitment to collaborate with European institutions, providing unique expertise and innovative digitized solutions.

The interconnection project will have a capacity of 600 MW and require a total investment of €850 million. Stretching approximately 220 km, the subsea cable will be submerged at a maximum depth of around 800 meters, covering the distance between Italy and Tunisia. The project is expected to enhance the integration of electricity markets and contribute to energy supply security by diversifying sources.

Fayçel Tarifa, Chairman and General Manager of Steg, highlighted the long-standing partnership between the Tunisian government and the European Union in the energy sector. He emphasized the strategic importance of the Elmed project for a secure, sustainable, and renewable energy future. Tarifa added that the interconnection not only links the Tunisian and Italian electrical grids through a 600 MW submarine cable but also symbolizes exceptional cooperation between the two continents, especially between Tunisia and Italy. He expressed confidence that this project would pave the way for several other regionally supported projects.

Terna believes that Elmed will play a crucial role in reducing emissions, contributing to the achievement of Italian and European energy and climate goals outlined in the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan and the Green New Deal. In September 2023, Terna successfully launched a €90 million undersea cable connecting the island of Elba with the Italian mainland. This underlines the company’s commitment to delivering more green electricity to the grid. In line with these efforts, other European countries are also pursuing hybrid interconnectors to promote renewable energy integration. Norway’s Statnett, for instance, is exploring the feasibility of hybrid interconnectors with Denmark and Germany.

This significant allocation of funds and the collaborative effort between Italy and Tunisia, supported by the EU, highlight the commitment to a sustainable and interconnected energy future.