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Greek power grid to bring forward islands link by two years

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's power grid operator ADMIE will bring forward by two years a plan to link some of the country's islands to the mainland grid via undersea cables, the company said on Friday.

Last year, state-controlled ADMIE was spun off from power utility Public Power Corp. (PPC) under Greece's international bailout, with China's State Grid, the world's biggest utility, acquiring a 24 percent stake.

ADMIE'S board decided on Friday to complete the third phase of a plan to interconnect some of the Cyclades islands to the main grid in 2020, two years earlier than initially planned, a company spokesman said.

The third phase has a budget of 102 million euros ($127 million).

ADMIE gave no details of how the project would be financed.

The power grid operator signed a non-binding agreement with China Development Bank in November as it looks for fresh capital to finance infrastructure projects.

ADMIE said on Thursday that the first part of the plan to link the Cyclades islands to the mainland - which costs 245 million euros - will be finished in March. The company aims to wrap up the second phase, costing 71 million euros, in 2019.

The project is part of a 2 billion euro, 10-year investment plan, which also includes connecting the island of Crete to the mainland's grid, via undersea cables.

"All parties are committed to the need of speeding up interconnection plans as the Greek economy is recovering and electricity consumption is seen rising," ADMIE's Chief Executive Officer Manos Manousakis said in a statement.

($1 = 0.8040 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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