Malta issues tender for provision of second interconnector engineering design

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 April, 2022 at 11:05 am by Andre Camilleri

A government-owned company has issued a public tender for the provision of front end engineering design (FEED) for the second electrical cable interconnection project between Malta and Sicily.

The tender was issued by Interconnect Malta, which has been entrusted with two major energy projects – the second interconnector and the hydrogen-ready pipeline, also between Malta and Italy.

Interconnect Malta is 100% government-owned. The company was established in August 2021 and falls under the responsibility of the Ministry for Energy, Enterprise, and Sustainable Development.

The second interconnector project consists of a new 118km long 200MWe 50Hz electrical cable interconnection through a submarine cable operating at 220kV between Malta (Maghtab) and Sicily (Ragusa) to be laid in parallel but at a safe distance to the existing HVAC cable link which was commissioned in 2015.

The project forms part of government’s future energy strategy in meeting the 2030 climate and energy targets and the longer-term decarbonisation objectives. “It aims at diversifying the islands’ energy sources and meet the projected increase in electricity demand from economic growth and electrification of the transport sector,” according to the Interconnect Malta website.

The 2nd cable link will also strengthen the electricity interconnectivity with the EU electricity network, allows for increased importation of electricity sourced from renewables, optimise the use of local power generation, whilst allowing the increase in local renewable energy sources through the enhancement of the grid stability and balancing of intermittent RES.

The FEED study will include studies on the onshore routes in Malta and Sicily, as well as the offshore route. The outcomes of the tender will also be used for permitting purposes and to develop the specifications of the engineering, procurement and construction tender planned to be issued later next year. The deadline closes on 19 May.

The interconnector cable will mainly be used to import energy from Sicily but can be used to export electricity in case of excess supply.

The first interconnector between Malta and Sicily was completed in 2015. Over the past years, Enemalta has relied heavily on the undersea cable to cater for Malta’s energy demand.

Currently, energy is imported through the interconnector or produced locally through the gas-fired plants at Delimara, which are operated by Electrogas and Delimara 3 Power Generation Ltd.

Enemalta also has two gasoil-fired plants, which are utilised as standby capacity during emergencies or when other sources are unavailable.

Malta is currently also working on a 159-km long pipeline that will be capable of transporting hydrogen fuel from Gela in Italy.

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