Italy signs on €1bn French connection

Funds provided by CDP and the EIB have financed the Italian side of the 1.2GW interconnector, the world’s longest underground power line.

The Italian portion of the 1.2GW Italy-France interconnector project is now fully funded after receiving a €415 million financing package.

Funds from Italian investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, alongside a European Investment Bank pledge and capital from a consortium led by Milan-listed Prysmian Group, have brought part of the project to a close. The entire interconnector is valued at about €1 billion.

The project connects Piedmont in the north of Italy to Savoie in France and will have a capacity of 1.2GW total transmission. It is expected to begin operations in 2020, providing an increase of about 40 percent in electricity trading capacity between the two countries. Prysmian is developing the interconnector alongside grid operator Terna.
At a length of 190km, the project will be the longest underground power line in the world, implemented alongside existing road systems.

“The creation of this network infrastructure is a strategic interconnection work with other countries to improve the security and stability of our electricity supply system,” said Fabio Gallia, chief executive of CDP. “Terna's project promotes the competitiveness of Italian companies by reducing the cost of energy, as well as laying the foundations for the emergence of a single market in electricity.”

The Italy-France interconnector is being promoted under the Juncker Plan, mandating all EU countries to have electricity cables in place that allow at least 10 percent of the electricity produced by their power plants to be transported to neighbouring countries through interconnections.