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Terna studying three Balkan interconnector links, including to Albania

Nov 23, 2007 - AFX news

ROME (Thomson Financial) - Terna SpA is studying three possible interconnector links across the Adriatic sea to link Italy's electricity grid with those in three Balkan countries, including Albania, according to company presentations.

Earlier this week, Terna CEO Flavio Cattaneo was quoted on a planned link to Montenegro, while earlier in November, Terna signed an agreement with Croatian power grid operator HEP-OPS for a feasibility study on a submarine cable link to Croatia.

In the presentation, Terna said that in addition to a possible Candia, Italy-Konjsko, Croatia power cable link, other studies are looking at links from Foggia, Italy to Podgorica in Montenegro and Foggia to Durazzo in Albania.

All three three links would be either 500 or 1,000 MW capacity with the Croatian link 240 kilometres long, the Montenegro one 300 km, and the Albania one 300 km, the company said.

The company gave no cost for the possible links, while a Sardinia-Italian mainland 1,000 MW, 420 km submarine link already under construction is expected to cost 700 mln eur when finished in mid-2009, it said.

The cost of a interconnection depends on capacity of the lines themselves -- a single 500 MW line or a double 1,000 MW one -- the distance, the underwater depth and hire of a cable-layer vessel.

Industry sources said links to the Balkan power market would give Italy access to power from its hydroelectric plants and coal-powered plants, costing 30 pct less than electricity produced in Italy.

Terna is cooperating with Balkan countries on technical assistance for their own grid networks, and in addition sees scope for identifying generation projects, in which other Italian companies could take stakes, it said.

Croatia is currently a net importer of electricity and Terna sees the country as playing a transit role in power exchange with Italy, it said, noting new Croatian investments in coal and gas-fired power plants.

On other interconnectors, studies are also underway for links to North Africa with technical and economic conditions already examined for a 1,000 MW link between Sicily and Tunisia, Terna said in its presentation.

To Algeria, two connection alternatives have been identified, both for 500 or 1,000 MW, to either Sardinia or the Campania mainland region, it said.

With Libya, joint studies are being carried out with the Libyan operator for a connection to Sicily via Malta with a capacity of 500 or 1,000 MW, it said.

Land line projects to neighbouring countries include building a new 1,000 MW capacity interconnector to Slovenia, studies on increasing the Valchiavenna link to Switzerland, and studies on French links to Italy's Piedmont region, it said. nt/ajb/rw


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