Coal, O&M

Billions of dollars to be spent creating multi-national electric power interconnection arrangement

Ellicott City, Md., Nov. 25, 2003 — The Newton-Evans Research Company released highlights from its new report on the status and development of the Mediterranean Ring, a major international electric power interconnection project initially conceived of during the 1960s.

The goal of the ongoing Mediterranean Ring project is to provide interconnection of electric power transmission grids among the countries and regions that encircle the Mediterranean Sea.

This, in turn, will increase energy security in the entire region, and enable more efficient power flows at lower costs and with a need for fewer power plants to meet rapidly increasing demand for electricity in the southern and eastern Mediterranean regions.

The concept involves linking electric power grids from Spain to Morocco through the remaining Maghreb (North African and Western Arab) countries, on to Egypt and the Mashreq, (Eastern Arab) countries, and from there up to Turkey. From Turkey the ring would then link back into the European grid via Greece or through the newly interconnected Eastern European country grids. See Figure 1 below.

The European Union nations have taken the lead in assisting the Mediterranean region in its quest to be synchronously interconnected to the European grid. The objectives of such a huge system of electric power interconnections include these:
1) Provide increased levels of energy security to participating nations;
2) Defer or avoid construction of new power plants by importing/exporting electric power among nations;
3) Balance the load and the demand for electric power across the region; and,
4) Cut back on the primary electricity reserve requirements within each country.

Organizational Involvement in the Development of the Med Ring Project:

There are several international groups heavily involved in the development of the Med Ring interconnection project. Because of the implications of linking grids from one
region to another region that have such different operational and technical characteristics, standards organizations, regional electrical associations, and even the European Union are necessarily involved parties to this development.

The reason for such high levels of involvement in reviewing grid interconnections is that the stability of existing mature networks in Western Europe is paramount to that highly electrified region. All new connections must be equally stable.

European networks are highly meshed, consisting of high voltage lines, with high consumption and high density of consumers, and predictable load patterns. Grids in the Southern Mediterranean region are typically lower voltage grids, non-redundant, serving fewer loads, concentrated in highly urbanized areas, and strung out through the countryside at lower voltages.

Newton-Evans Research has found in its discussions and meetings with involved utilities in the region that North American transmission equipment manufacturers are welcomed to join in this effort as individual tenders for towers, lines, substations, transformers, switchgear and related protection equipment are released.

The 40-page Newton-Evans report is entitled The Mediterranean Ring Project: Status and Plans. Further information on the report is available at the Newton-Evans Research Company website (www.newton-evans.com) or by e-mail ([email protected]).