The cost of the government’s handling of the power interconnection between Crete and Attica and the related clash with the European Commission is rising.
The first reaction from Brussels to the unilateral decision of the government and the Regulatory Authority for Energy concerning the Crete-Attica linkup came last week and did not refer to the expected probing of RAE’s decisions regarding their compatibility with Projects of Common Interest (PCI) regulations.
It actually pertained to the exclusion from the PCI list of the underground natural gas deposit in Kavala, northern Greece, a development that has shocked state privatization fund TAIPED; this is because the project had been set as a priority for 2019 and is not experiencing any delays, pending issues or disputed aspects that could have led to its removal from the PCI list, given that it could play a vital role in energy supply security and source diversity for the European market.
It has become clear to the Greek side that the Kavala project’s exclusion from the PCI catalogue last week was associated with RAE and the government’s unilateral decisions on the power linkup. Athens’ arbitrary decision to exclude PCI contractor Euroasia from the linkup and concede it to Ariadne – a subsidiary of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) – has sapped the Commission’s confidence in Greece, leading to the exclusion of the Kavala deposit from EU-subsidized projects.
According to sources, TAIPED, which has had full control of the Kavala deposit since 2011, has expressed its objections to the Commission about this development in writing and is waiting for a response. Sources from the privatization fund said the situation is very difficult and expressed concern over the progress of the project at Kavala, noting that its implementation is uncertain without the favorable status of co-funding by the EU.
The Kavala gas deposit is considered a project of strategic significance, designed to complement the infrastructure clusters being developed in northern Greece with the TAP and IGB pipelines and the Alexandroupoli gas terminal.