A marine feasibility study has started for a proposed 600MW Italy-Tunisia undersea electricity connection between the countries’ national grids.
Marine certification company RINA is working with Tunisian subsidiary Comete Engineering on the public tender for the undersea electricity connection study. The tender was issued by ELMED ÉTUDES SÀRL, a joint venture between Terna and Société Tunisienne de l’Électricité et du Gaz (STEG), the two companies which, respectively, manage the Italian and Tunisian electricity transmission grids.
Guido Guida, ELMED director, said the project was of strategic importance to both Italy and Tunisia: “We awarded RINA, in JV with the Tunisian subsidiary Comete Engineering, the contract for the marine feasibility studies based on a rigorous technical and commercial evaluation process.”
The Italy-Tunisia electric Interconnection is an important project for two-way electricity transfer between the two countries. If created, the interconnection cable will stretch over more than 200km with land and sub-sea sections to a depth of 800m. The undersea connection is strategic for the two countries’ energy security and sustainability and for the creation of a Mediterranean electricity grid that connects North African countries with Europe, with a view to full market integration.
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The submarine survey project started in April 2021 and will run for a year. It will identify two possible landfall sites on either end of the interconnection. The best possible option will then be determined in terms of geological and environmental aspects. The survey will also establish possible routes for the underwater section, identifying and evaluating constraints and obstacles.
Initial landfall and route studies will be followed by topographic, nearshore and offshore field surveys. Preliminary geophysical surveys will be followed by a detailed survey of the seabed using instruments mounted on remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs). The final stages of the project will cover seabed characterisation at the Italian site, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. RINA anticipates the fieldwork to take around 3-4 months.