Connecting Europe & Maghreb: Tunisia and Italy Integrate Their Electricity Markets

Italy and Tunisia have agreed to proceed with the 600 MW Elmed subsea power link that connects both countries’ power grids. The interconnector will link together the Italian grid at Partanna on Sicily and El Hawaria in Tunisia. The subsea cable project will be executed by the respective TSOs – Terna (Italy) and Steg (Tunisia). The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (Entso-e) estimates that the project will be completed in 2025.

According to EU bulletin, the length of the subsea power link is 192 km, with 32 km of underground cable in Sicily and 5 km in Tunisia. The total cost of the subsea interconnector is currently projected at $672 million, which will be jointly financed by the EU and through public-private partnerships. The original plan included a 1-gigawatt power cable and a 1.2 GW power plant in Tunisia that would send around 800 MW of energy to southern Italy. However, the Italian recession in 2011 caused a drop in power demand which downsized the project.

“The objective is to increase the safety and sustainability of electrical systems within an interconnected Euro-Mediterranean network, which also gives the possibility of covering part of the growing demand of African countries with energy produced by EU countries, ” the Italian government said in a statement.

Furthermore, as Tunisia produces twice the amount of solar energy as Central Europe, the line would use the country’s back-up solar resources while boosting its renewable development.


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