Second interconnector cable to Italy gets PA’s green light

99km submarine cable will connect Malta to Ragusa and double current electricity interconnection with the European network

The Planning Authority has granted the permit for the development of IC2, the second submarine electricity cable between Malta and Italy.

The conclusion of the permitting process, and the PA’s positive review of the project, are an important step forward in the implementation of Malta’s plan for a sustainable energy sector, Interconnect Malta – the government company running the project – said.

The approval includes the works required to lay and protect the land and subsea cable link between the Enemalta 132kV Maghtab Terminal Station up to the median line, halfway between Malta and the Italian Island of Sicily.

Energy minister Miriam Dalli said the IC2 is a critical project in Malta’s plan to ensure the sustainability and security of Malta’s energy sector. “It will increase the capacity and flexibility of the country’s electricity infrastructure, to meet the country’s future energy requirements while facilitating increased renewable energy investments, in line with our decarbonisation objectives.”

Dr Ing. Joseph Vassallo, divisional manager at Interconnect Malta, said the development permits culminate two years of planning and studies needed to prepare the design of IC2, which will be routed at a safe distance from the first Malta-Italy Interconnector, commissioned in 2015.

The new route necessitated new land and offshore surveys to investigate subsoil conditions and bathymetry. Following these surveys, in 2023 Interconnect Malta concluded the project’s front-end engineering design, to determine the specifications of the required technologies, including cables, transformers, shunt reactors, safety and protection systems and other equipment.

“Interconnect Malta is now publishing calls for offers for the implementation of this project. Together with the strengthening of the national grid and the installation of utility-scale battery energy storage systems, IC2 will consolidate security of supply and allow the integration of more and larger renewable energy sources for Malta,” Dr Vassallo said.

Interconnect Malta is also collaborating with the Italian authorities to conclude the permitting processes of this project in Italian waters and on land in Sicily.

The IC2 project – part-funded by the EBRD – will develop a 121-kilometre, 225 MW HVAC electrical cable interconnection including a 99-kilometre submarine cable operating at 220 kV between Malta (Maghtab) and Italy (Ragusa, Sicily).

The IC2 will double Malta’s current electricity interconnection with the European network, apart from facilitating increased investments in renewable energy systems by providing the necessary reserve capacity to accommodate the energy output intermittency of Malta’s growing grid-connected renewable energy sources, contributing to the country’s climate objectives, for a better quality of life.