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Tunisia-Italy power project gets $285m investment 

The Elmed undersea power line will run from the electrical substation at Partanna in Sicily to a substation at Mlaabi, Tunisia Elmed
The Elmed undersea power line will run from the electrical substation at Partanna in Sicily to a substation at Mlaabi, Tunisia
  • Funds for Elmed Interconnector Project
  • 220km power line connecting two countries
  • Co-funded by the EU

The Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company (STEG) has revealed plans to invest about €266 million ($285 million) to complete the Tunisian-Italian Elmed Interconnector Project, a 220km power line connecting the two countries.

The investment will fund the Tunisian side of the project, which includes laying a 100km submarine power cable worth €125 million and the construction of a power station in the Mlaabi region in Menzel Temime, at a cost of €141 million.

The complete power line will run from the electrical substation at Partanna (Sicily) to the substation at Mlaabi.

Co-funded by the European Union, it will have a capacity of 600MW and a maximum depth of approximately 800m along the Strait of Sicily.

Belhassen Chiboub, director general of electricity and renewable energy at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said STEG would invest a further $120 million to reinforce the national electricity network, which will be linked to the Elmed project.

This will involve reinforcing the central transmission line between the north and the south, with a view to exporting electricity generated from renewable sources in the south and transmitting it to the north-east of Tunisia.

High-voltage overhead lines will be constructed from Skhira to Kondar and from Bouficha to Sousse, as well as conventional stations and electrical substations in these regions.

Chiboub said the total cost of the Elmed project is estimated at almost €840 million, of which €307 million will be provided by the EU in the form of grants. Almost €533 million will be shared equally by STEG and the Italian electricity grid company Terna.

Preliminary studies for the project were carried out during 2021-23, financed partly by a World Bank grant and partly by self-financing.

Two financing agreements have been signed with the World Bank for the Menzel Temime station and with the Green Climate Fund.

The project will also be financed by loans from European lenders, namely the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and the German Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

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