The European Investment Bank is advancing a EUR 300 million loan to Terna – Rete Elettrica Nazionale S.p.A., which is responsible in Italy for electricity transmission and dispatching over the high-voltage and extra-high voltage grid – to help finance a new submarine high-voltage power cable between the Italian mainland and Sardinia. The project, known as SAPEI (SArdegna-PEnisola Italiana) involves laying a 1000 MW power cable with a submarine section length of 420 km and two short land lines, linked to two converter stations. Upon completion of the works, two records will be set:

  • the link will be the deepest direct-current cable ever laid (1600 m at the deepest point, breaking the previous record of 1000 m for the Italy-Greece link, which was also undertaken by Terna and part-financed by the EIB);
  • the length of the cable (420 km) will make it one of the longest ever laid.

SAPEI will replace the direct-current power line between Sardinia, Corsica and Italy (SACOI), and encourage the development of wind power on Sardinia.

The new cable will improve the reliability and stability of the Sardinian power grid and enable the electricity generated by wind farms, which are being developed on the island, to be transmitted to the mainland. The project, which is one of the EU’s priority projects of common interest (trans-European networks), meets two basic Community and EIB energy policy objectives: ensuring the efficient use of an important source of renewable energy and ensuring security of internal supplies.

The EIB has already financed investments by Terna for the development, upgrading and maintenance of the national power transmission grid.