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Greek power grid operator embarks on major supply project

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's electrical grid ADMIE (ADMr.AT) said on Thursday it would set up a company immediately to build a power link connecting the island of Crete to the mainland, overcoming delays that had posed a risk to future power supply.

ADMIE said it would complete the Crete-Attica link by 2022 after Greek energy regulator RAE decided the operator had sufficient expertise, reliable technology and the financial clout to take control of the project's construction.

The link is crucial for electricity supply on Crete, where a big portion of the power produced by oil-fuelled generators must be switched off after 2020 due to EU emissions regulations.

The link is part of a 3.5 billion euro (3.2 billion pounds) cross-border infrastructure project, EuroAsia Interconnector, that will carry electricity generated in Israel to European grids via Cyprus, the Greek island of Crete and mainland Greece.

ADMIE and EU-backed EuroAsia Interconnector agreed last year to set up a company to build the Greek leg of the link and that ADMIE would hold a 51 percent stake, EuroAsia a 39 percent stake and private investors would own the rest.

The Greek leg was originally planned to be completed by 2020 but differences among the parties had delayed the establishment of the company that would build it.

ADMIE last week met senior executives from French peer RTE in Athens to discuss possible participation in the project. It also held talks with representatives from Belgium's grid operator Elia Grid (ELI.BR) on Monday.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Dale Hudson)