The Malta Independent 29 February 2024, Thursday
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ERA approves Interconnector 2 environmental assessment

Saturday, 26 August 2023, 08:18 Last update: about 6 months ago

Interconnect Malta (ICM) on Saturday welcomed the Environment and Resources Authority’s approval of the environmental impact assessment of the development of Interconnector 2, the second submarine electricity cable between Malta and Italy.

The conclusion of the environmental impact assessment and its positive review by the authority are an important step forward in the planning of Malta’s second electricity interconnection with mainland Europe, affirming that this development will not have negative impacts on marine and terrestrial environments, the company said.

The environmental impact assessment, which was completed earlier this year, includes a thorough analysis of the project’s potential impacts on surrounding environments, including ecology, archaeology, water bodies and geology. Over a period of six months, more than ten experts from different fields analysed data collected during the recent marine survey and front-end engineering design of the project, and gathered further information to conclude the assessment, including 12 scientific and technical studies. The assessment also recommends mitigation measures to minimise any risk of impacts during project implementation.

Ing. Ismail D’Amato, Interconnect Malta’s CEO, explained that the Company discussed these mitigation measures with ERA, and will be making sure they are integrated in the final implementation plans.

“Interconnector 2 is an important project for the future security and environmental sustainability of Malta’s energy sector, as it meets future demand requirements, including increased electrification, while paving the way for the Government’s ambition to continue increasing Malta’s share of grid-connected renewables on land and offshore, in coming years. In this regard, the second Interconnector is a major enabler of investment in green energy. Through this environmental impact assessment, we wanted to make sure that the project will safeguard our environment even during its construction,” Ing. D’Amato said.

Interconnect Malta will continue collaborating with the Planning Authority and other relevant authorities in Malta and Italy, to conclude the permitting processes of this important project. A similar EIA analysing the project’s proposed infrastructure on land and at sea in Sicily was also concluded.

Following the identification and analysis of a preliminary route in 2022, the Company is currently finalising the project’s front-end engineering design, which is providing the required technical information for the final calls for tenders for the required equipment, and for the development and commissioning of the subsea cable and the land installations. In this regard, earlier this month Interconnect Malta issued a prior information notice (PIN) for the procurement of two shunt reactors and one transformer to be installed at the Interconnector’s terminals at Maghtab and Ragusa. A list of all upcoming calls for tenders related to the project is available on the Company’s website.

Interconnector 2 will be a 118-kilometre, 225 MW HVAC electrical cable interconnection including a 99-kilometre submarine cable operating at 220 kV between Malta (Maghtab) and Italy (Ragusa, Sicily). It will be located at a safe distance from the first Malta-Italy Interconnector, which was commissioned in 2015.

This project will consolidate security of supply by doubling Malta’s current electricity interconnection with the European network. It will also empower increased investments in renewable energy systems by providing the necessary reserve capacity to accommodate the energy output intermittency of Malta’s grid-connected renewable energy sources, contributing to the country’s climate objectives, for a better quality of life.

The Project may be part-funded by the European Regional Development Funding Programme 2021-2027 of the European Union.

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