Tunisia Italy Inter-connector Project to Go Ahead

  • Italy and Tunisia are reviving plans for power interconnection between the two countries.
  • The project has been under development by Italian Transmission Company Terna and Tunisian gas and electricity group STEG since 2003.
  • The project was originally conceived to export power generated in Tunisia to Italy but It will now go the other way.

During the first meeting of the Tunisian-Italian Higher Council of Strategic Partnership, held earlier this week in Tunis, Italy’s deputy prime minister and minister of economic development, Luigi di Maio, and Tunisian minister of industry and SMEs, Zied Ladhari, have committed to build an extra-high voltage direct current connection between the two countries.

According to di Maio, the ‘Elmed’ infrastructure project  will make it possible to integrate the two electricity markets, significantly improving the interconnection of the EU system with North Africa.

The World Bank, which is arranging financing for the project, says terrestrial and marine feasibility studies, which have been put out to tender, as well as transaction advisory services and a financial model, should be finished before 2022. Italy would contribute €5 million to the feasibility studies.

Tunisia imports most of its energy needs, despite being a relatively small natural gas and oil producer. The interconnector will contribute to achieving Tunisia’s renewables development by providing access to large back-up power capacity.

The Elmed project may also increase exchanges between Tunisia and Algeria and Libya, the World Bank said. “The Elmed interconnector is strongly supported by the governments of Italy and Tunisia, and by the European Union as well as by other countries such as Germany and Algeria,” added the lender.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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