In response to the perennial challenges posed by bad weather to Greece’s power network, and amid the current Diomidis front sweeping the country, the government is launching an ambitious program to upgrade and replace overhead electricity cables with underground ones.
The project, with an initial budget of 100 million euros, seeks to ensure rural and urban areas are protected against rough weather and that forest fires are prevented.
The project was announced last year by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the wake of the intense bad weather in February, which left the northern suburbs of Athens without electricity for days.
The project is set to begin in the coming months, by May at the latest, and will be among the first to be financed by the EU recovery fund. It will concern settlements with special cultural or tourist value, as well as urban centers, with priority given to areas where the network is vulnerable to weather phenomena (e.g. heavy snowfall as in the case of last February).
The aim is to improve network resilience, quality of life and tourism development.
Special emphasis will be placed on forest fire prevention with the replacement of bare overhead cables of medium voltage networks, installation of underground cables, the relocation of networks in forest areas, as well as the placement of insulating covers on cables.
These measures are expected to secure better network reliability and improve SAIDI and SAIFI power quality indicators, which will ensure forests are shielded from extreme weather events such as those of last summer. Scientists have predicted these events will become more common.
Kathimerini understands that the program will unfold almost throughout Greece and will be implemented in collaboration with the Environment Ministry and the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (DEDDIE).
Meanwhile yesterday, “extreme weather” on the southeast Aegean island of Kos prompted Southern Aegean Regional Governor Giorgos Hatzimarkos to urge authorities to declare a state of emergency in two municipal units which have been especially battered by storms in the last few days.
In his request sent to the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, he said the “extreme weather phenomena” on January 8-9 in the municipal units of Kos and Dikaiou resulted in floods, landslides and extensive damage to the road network, endangering lives and property.