Genoa — RINA, in JV with the Tunisian subsidiary Comete Engineering, has been awarded a public tender for the marine feasibility study for the 600MW Italy-Tunisia Interconnection 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.

The Italy-Tunisia electric Interconnection is an important project for two-way electricity transfer between the two countries. Stretching over 200km with land and sub-sea sections to a depth of 800m, the ‘invisible’ cable will add resilience to power supply. The undersea connection is strategic for the two countries’ energy security and sustainability and for the creation of a Mediterranean electricity grid which connects North African countries with Europe, with a view to full market integration.

The submarine survey project, which started in April 2021, and will run for one year, will identify two possible landfalls at either end of the interconnection, determining which are the best options in terms of geological and environmental aspect. It 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 field work to take around 3-4 months.

Guido Guida, cogérant di Elmed, said “This is a strategic project for 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. RINA scored very high for both technical capabilities and methodology”.

Roberto Carpaneto, CEO at RINA Consulting, said “We are continually gaining experience and reputation for our work on subsea interconnectors. The project is ideally suited to our multidisciplinary capabilities, and we are able to offer ELMED greater assurance in management of project budget, timescales and quality of work. We are delighted to have been awarded this contract by ELMED and we hope to be involved in additional phases of this strategic project”.

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