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Italy, Albania to Be Linked By Undersea Electric Power Cable

Jan 21, 2008 - BBC Monitoring

Italy and Albania in a network. With mutual advantages. Italy will help to modernize Tirana's electricity system. And Albania will be able to act as an energy lung, to meet - when needed - our country's growing need for electricity. Yesterday came a new significant step forward, with the go-ahead from the Albanian Government for the project by the Moncada Costruzioni group in Agrigento, Italy's fifth-largest producer of wind power, for a private undersea electricity cable (merchant line [previous two words in English in original]) to be laid between the two coasts.

The power line, with a high-tension capacity of 500 megawatts, at 400 kV, representing an investment of 240 million euros, will be 145 km long, of which 14 km will be buried under Italian soil, one km under Albanian soil, and 130 km laid undersea. It will be laid on the bed of the Straits of Otranto, between Vlore and South Brindisi, reaching depths of 900 m.

The cable is intended for an exchange of electricity between the two countries, but is set to strengthen the hypothesis of an energy hub [previous word in English in original] between Italy and the Balkans. On October 26 last year Terna, Italy's company for electricity transmission, had already signed an accord with the Croat network operator Hep-Ops, for a feasibility study for undersea interconnection with Italy. On November 7 Terna also signed an accord with the Economic Development Ministry and with an electricity company in Montenegro, EPCG, for a fesibility study for a further 500 MW or 1,000 MW interconnection cable, with a length of over 300 km.

To start with, the accord announced yesterday with Tirana will favour "imports into Italy of the wind energy which the Moncada group will generate in Albania, where the production installation, already authorized in December by the Albanian Government, with its potential of 500 MW, will constitute the largest wind power station ever built in Europe, with an investment of 750 million euros," noted the Moncada group.

The work was directly spurred on by Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, while the chairman of the Agrigento branch of Confindustria [Italian employers' association], Giuseppe Catanzaro, referred to the Moncada group as a "centre of excellence which, from Sicily, is succeeding in establishing itself as an element of growth for all of Italy's southern regions, simply by implementing brave investments, and taking concrete steps."

Originally published by Il Sole-24 Ore website, Milan, in Italian 18 Jan 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring European. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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