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Slovenia and Hungary to connect their electricity grid from next year

Works to build the 80-kilometres-long 400 kilovolts (kV) transmission line Cirkovce-Pince connecting the Slovenian and Hungarian transmission networks started on 14 October putting an end to negotiations that started in the middle of the 90s’. The commissioning of the line is expected in December 2021.

The first inter-state connection between Slovenia and Hungary is a project of strategic importance. The cornerstone-laying ceremony hosted by the beneficiary, the Slovenian transmission system operator ELES, was attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Janez Janša, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary, Viktor Orbán and by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, Gordan Grlić Radman.

The interconnection line will increase the reliability of transmission networks, allow higher market integration, facilitate access to energy sources from the North and East and enable the inclusion of a larger amount of renewable sources from the entire region.

Supported by the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, the Cirkovce-Pince transmission line will enable to connect Slovenia to the existing interconnection between Croatia and Hungary, resulting in two new cross-border circuits: Cirkovce (Slovenia) to Žerjavinec (Croatia) and Cirkovce (Croatia) to Hévíz (Hungary).

The project was included in the EU’s list of Projects of Common Interests managed to secure 48.2 million euros EU grant that supports the construction of Cirkovce-Pince transmission line and of new 400 kV and 110 kV switchyards in substation Cirkovce, and the removal of existing and obsolete switchyards in substation Cirkovce.

The project is the single largest investment into the transmission network infrastructure in the history of ELES. The preparation work for the route of the transmission line began already in September, but due to the changing dynamics of the project, construction work will most likely begin simultaneously on several parts of the route and will be concluded by the end of 2021.

Director of ELES, Aleksander Mervar pointed out that the project is of great importance not only for Slovenia but also for the wider region and Europe. He added that the key to success was the cooperation between ELES teams as well as cooperation with state institutions and operator MAVIR from Hungary and operator from Croatia, HOPS.

András Biczók, CEO of the Hungarian transmission system operator MAVIR highlighted that on the rapidly transforming EU energy market flexibility is becoming an increasingly important aspect of supply security supported not only by technical but also by increasingly market-based instruments, including market interconnections.

He noted that the continuous expansion and interconnection of transmission lines are therefore extremely important and the completion of the Cirkovce-Pince transmission line is a significant milestone for the Hungarian energy market.

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