After twenty years of adventures, the process of approvals and licenses began so that the construction of the Spinalonga electricity project can start. A few days ago, the municipal council of Agios Nikolaos, Crete approved the project as well as the terms of the relevant contract with HEDNO, the operator of electricity transmission networks. Now the only thing that remains is the approval of the Court of Auditors to proceed with the implementation of the project without further delays.

Efforts to get Spinalonga out of the darkness, as the mayor of Agios Nikolaos, Mr. Antonios Zervos, told OT, began in 2000. In fact, PPC had then agreed on the electrical interconnection of the island. However, the issue waned in the following years. “When I took over as mayor again, I brought it back”, the mayor points out.

Thus, in 2020, the municipality submitted a proposal for the inclusion of the operation “Electricity and Water Supply of Spinalonga Island” in the “Philodimos II” Program of the Ministry of Interior, which was approved in January 2021 with a funding provision of 2,500,000 euros (including VAT). Of these, 1.7 million euros concern the electrification of Spinalonga and the construction and configuration of space on the side of Plaka, about 465,000 euros are intended for the water supply project of the island, 155,000 euros for the installation of Sewage Treatment at the archaeological site and 80,000 euros for the cost of archaeological oversight.

In particular, the project of interconnection of the island was included in the Network Development Plan (NPS) for the period 2021-2025 of HEDNO, which was approved by the Energy Regulatory Authority (RAE) on August 5, 2021. This referred to the new submarine cable interconnection of the island with the electrical system of Crete through two new three-pole medium voltage submarine cables, one kilometer long each. The estimated year of completion of the project is defined as 2024. “If the procedures run smoothly, it is estimated that it will take about 2.5 years to complete the project. “HEDNO is now completing the electricity supply study,” the mayor emphasizes.

From the approximately 1.67 million euros that concern the electrification, the amount of 556 thousand euros, the Municipality will have to advance it to HEDNO and the rest at the beginning of the construction of the project. Also, as Mr. Zervos claims, “we have secured the commitment of the Minister of Shipping Giannis Plakiotakis for the reorganization of the lighting study of the monument, through financial programs related to the promotion of island areas, with about 300,000 euros.” According to him, at the same time a study is being prepared for the water supply by the Municipal Water Supply and Sewerage Company of Agios Nikolaos and the project included in the act “Electricity and Water Supply of Spinalonga Island” will be auctioned soon.

A bit of history

Spinalonga, an islet with a size of 8.5 hectares, is located at the mouth of the natural port of Elounda, in Lassithi, Crete. It is the second most visited archeological site in Crete, after the Minoan palace of Knossos.

Due to its geographical location, it was a crossroads of people and cultures, a “hub” for trade and the circulation of ideas and arts between West and East, as stated in the application file of the Fortress of Spinalonga submitted by the Ministry of Culture for its registration. in the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The islet was walled in antiquity to protect the ancient city of Oloundo. Towards the end of the 16th century, the Venetians built one of the most important naval fortresses in the Mediterranean, designed by some of Venice’s most famous engineers. In fact, in the 19th century it hosted the largest Ottoman settlement in Eastern Crete, after Chandakas. Its history changed… page in 1903, when the Leprosy Hospital was founded where hundreds of patients with Hansen’s disease lived in conditions of confinement and isolation, until 1957 when it closed.