The ELMED project will allow Italy and Tunisia to play a strategic role for electricity in the euro-mediterranean area. The interconnection will link the transmission systems of Europe and North Africa to achieve an increasingly safe, sustainable and renewable future for energy.


ELMED is an energy bridge between Italy and Tunisia that will link the two vast electricity systems of Europe and North Africa. The result of synergies and cooperation between Terna and STEG, the companies managing the electricity grids of the two countries, ELMED will be the first direct current connection between both continents. The bi-directional power exchange will bring important benefits for electricity and the environment. The power line will run from the electrical substation at Partanna (Sicily) to the substation at Mlaabi on the Tunisian peninsula of Capo Bon, for a total length of 220 km (200 of which is undersea cable). It will have a capacity of 600 MW and a maximum depth of approximately 800 m, along the Strait of Sicily. The project has seen an unprecedented effort in terms of planning and coordination between the electricity operators, authorities, banks and local communities. The objective of ELMED is to deliver a safer, more sustainable and more resilient supply of power while increasing the exchange of electricity generated from renewable sources which are driving the investment in clean generation systems.

Technical details


600 MW



500 kV


submarine cable length

220 km


profondità cavo sottomarino

800 m



The electricity cables will run from the converter substations in Partanna (Trapani) and Mlaabi (Menzel Temime) and will be built according to the latest technical and technology standards, in full consideration of the environment and the area, with architectural design and colour schemes designed to be blend in with the landscape. Accurate marine and environmental studies have been carried out to define the best route for the cables to protect the seabed and ecosystems. Sustainability and consideration for the land are key aspects of this project.


From the landing point on the Sicilian coast, the underground cable will run for 18 km to Partanna converter station. From the landing point on the tunisian coast, an underground electricity cable will run 6 km to the new converter station in Mlaabi. The undersea power line crosses the Strait of Sicily for about 200 km between the two landing sites.
  • ItalyApprofondisci
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A more sustainable, efficient and secure grid, thanks to dialogue and cooperation among the many stakeholders in the project.


Because of its strategic importance, ELMED is an interconnector with the potential to promote true integration between the energy systems of the EU and North Africa. This will strengthen and further support the renewable energy projects in both regions, optimise the use of production sources, make it possible to share balancing resources, improve the security of supply and will also increase the operational flexibility of both electricity systems. The need to build new power lines along the north-south axis in the Mediterranean region and strengthen the connections along the central Mediterranean area corridor has been highlighted in many studies and analyses by leading international bodies, notably, the research used in the 2030 Mediterranean Master Plan produced by Med-TSO, the association of electricity grid operators in the Mediterranean area. ELMED will also play a leading role in terms of developing Europe’s energy infrastructure. The project is fully aligned with the REPowerEU objectives, the aim of which is to release Europe from its dependence on Russian fossil fuels. It is also part of the European Union’s International Energy Strategy, which promotes building partnerships.

A strategic project

In 2016, Terna included this project in the Development Plan for the national grid, and it also forms part of the TYNDP (Ten-Year Network Development Plan) of ENTSO-E. In 2017, ELMED was recognised as a key cross-border infrastructure project for the EU and designated as a Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Commission, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 347/2013. This international power line has the potential to contribute to the safety and sustainability of energy supplies in EU countries and will also provide a significant impulse for the building of a Mediterranean electricity network linking Europe with North Africa with a view to full market integration. The project was initially included in the third and fourth lists of PCIs and was confirmed on the fifth list in November 2021, which is still in force. Thanks to the project’s significant environmental and economic benefits, ELMED is now second in the ranking of electricity interconnections on the priority north-south corridor in western Europe (“NSI West Electricity”).

The investment

Investments of € 850 million have been allocated to the project. Of these, over € 300 million will be funded by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the fund set up to support projects aimed at optimising the energy infrastructure in the EU. This is the first time that CEF funds have been assigned to an infrastructure project involving a Member State and a third country. As a further testament to its strategic importance, the European Commission has allocated over half of the available budget in the 2022 call to the project. The World Bank approved a $268.4 million loan to Tunisia for the ELMED project, in part for building the converter station (included in the scope of the project financed by the CEF) and in part for internal grid reinforcements necessary to operate the interconnection. In addition to the CEF and World Bank funds, financing will also be provided by the EIB, KfW and the EBRD.

The Stakeholder engagement

This is a participatory planning project, based on dialogue and feedback from the communities affected by the electricity infrastructure. The consultation and public information activities began in September 2020 and ended in July 2021; during this period, Terna met with residents from the municipalities of Campobello di Mazara, Castelvetrano and Partanna in Sicily to present the project. The public consultation ended positively, with no objections from the local residents and the full support of the local councils. The results of the public consultation were then delivered to the Italian Ministry for the Ecological Transition on 29 April 2022, together with the documents required for authorisation, which is expected by the first months of 2024. On the Tunisian side, ELMED is classed as a project of public interest and, as such, has been authorised by a governmental decree. STEG has already completed the stakeholder consultation process, the aim of which was to receive feedback for inclusion in the Energy Ministry’s considerations. The authorisation process with the Energy Ministry began on 22 August 2022.

The Institutional support

On 30 April 2019, the Italian Ministry for Economic Development and the Tunisian Ministry for Industry reached an agreement aimed at supporting TERNA and STEG with the interconnection project. Ratified by Tunisia on 29 January 2020 and by Italy on 19 December 2021, that agreement came into force on 25 January 2022. ELMED marks an important step towards the forging of a constructive, mutually beneficial, long-term partnership between Europe and North Africa, as it has been approved by several of the governments involved (Italy, France, Malta, Germany, Algeria and Tunisia) as well as the European institutions because of the contribution this project will make in terms of integrating the two shores of the Mediterranean. In 2020, the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment (ARERA) adopted a resolution to recognise part of the investment costs of the Italy-Tunisia interconnection in the Italian electricity transmission tariff. As of December 2022, the European Commission has allocated over €300 million from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to the project – around half of the budget available in the 2022 call. In June 2023, the World Bank approved a $268.4 million loan to Tunisia for the ELMED project, in part for building the converter station (included in the scope of the project financed by the CEF) and in part for internal grid reinforcements necessary to operate the interconnection. The EIB, EBRD and the KdW have also expressed an interest in funding the construction of the infrastructure. These loans will be added to the outright grant received for the project through the CEF.

The other parties involved


Thanks to ELMED project sources supplies will diversify and investments in renewables will increase both in Italy and North Africa. ELMED will also strengthen the industrial exchange between Italy and Tunisia, which will positively impact economy and will also benefit the energy transition, with lower global emissions of CO2 by more than 200 tonnes per annum.


The history of electricity infrastructure connecting Italy and Tunisia. Retrace the steps that transformed ELMED from an innovative idea into a cornerstone for the development of the transmission grid in the European Mediterranean.

About Us

The major promoters of the project, strategic partners for the development of the entire Mediterranean region.


Terna manages the Italian transmission grid (NTG) for high and extra-high-voltage electricity and is the largest independent electricity transmission system operator (TSO) in Europe. Its institutional public service role is essential to guarantee Italy's electricity supply and enable the operation of the entire national electricity system. Terna carries out grid planning, electricity system development and maintenance, and guarantees the balance of supply and demand for electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With approximately 75.000 km of high and extra-high-voltage power lines, 900 substations covering the entire country and 26 cross-border interconnections, Terna can rely on the expertise of 5.600 professionals.


STEG is the Tunisian electricity and gas operator. It has been managing the production, transport and distribution of electricity and natural gas in Tunisia since 1962. To cope with the growing demand for energy in Tunisia, a country with limited primary resources, STEG was set up to complete and develop the electrification of Tunisia and the interconnection of the grid.

News and press release
Read the official communications and all the latest news about the ELMED project.


Watch the ELMED project evolve with exclusive footage from the archives of TERNA and STEG.