The European Investment Bank has agreed to lend an Italy-France interconnector project €130 million to support investments.
The EIB on 21 July signed an agreement with Italian energy company group Terna, which will unlock €130 million in funds for a project that will link the French and Italian energy grids.
Terna’s “Piedmont-Savoy” 190km interconnector will link northwest Italy with southeast France, between Piossasco and Grande-Île.
Slated for completion by the end of 2019, the link will be the fourth of its kind between the two countries and will increase exchange capacity by 1,200 MW, roughly the capacity of one nuclear reactor. The Piedmont-Savoy interconnector will also be the world’s longest direct current cable line.
Terna is working on the underground cable project with its French counterpart, RTE. Total costs are estimated to reach a billion euros.
The European Commission has already identified the plan as a project of common interest (PCI) at EU-level, as the bloc pursues increased energy security and decarbonisation targets.
Exchange capacity between France and Italy will increase by 40% upon completion of the project, as well as boosting electricity market competitiveness, which is in line with overall EU strategy.
Terna CEO Luigi Ferraris said “we are very proud of the contribution that the European Investment Bank has chosen to provide to this strategically important project, which will make Europe’s entire power grid more efficient and safer and help to implement the single electricity market.”
EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco explained that the fund “confirms the EU bank’s engagement in the vital sector of energy networks”. He added that the EIB has supported the Italian network’s upgrade and development plans with €1 billion in recent years.