ENERGY: End to electricity isolation a step closer

5 mins read

 * EuroAsia Interconnector gets go-ahead from Cyprus-Greece regulators, Israel to follow *



EuroAsia Interconnector, the ambitious 1500km long subsea cable that will link the electricity grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, has received the go-ahead from the regulators of both Cyprus and Greece, with construction expected to begin in the first quarter of next year.

The project, that will have a capacity of 2000MW and will be completed in 2022, will end the energy isolation of Cyprus and Crete, both islands that depend heavily on fuel imports to run their national power stations.

As an indication, total electricity consumption in Cyprus, including power produced from renewable energy sources (RES) does not exceed 1,200MW.

The energy regulatory authorities of Cyprus and Greece have issued a joint decision for the cross-border cost allocation of the electricity interconnection between Cyprus and Greece, as provided by the European Regulation 347/2013 for Projects of Common Interest (PCIs).

“This is a historic moment for Cyprus as it ends the electricity isolation of the last European Union member state that remains energy isolated,” the company said in a statement.

The EuroAsia Interconnector, as the official Project Promoter from the European Commission, added that it expresses its warmest appreciation to all the competent authorities in Cyprus and Greece, the European Commission for their continuing support and especially the Energy Regulatory Authorities of Cyprus and Greece.

Nasos Ktorides, Chairman and CEO of the EuroAsia Interconnector, was quoted by the Associated Press on Monday (Oct. 16) as saying that Israeli regulators are expected to give their approval next month.

Work on the 1,519-kilometer undersea cable is expected to last until 2022 and its first phase will have an estimated cost of around 3.5 bln euros, the AP reported.

The project emerged amid improved relations between the three countries, coupled with the discovery of gas deposits in the east Mediterranean that could be used to generate electricity, the news agency concluded.

The leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Israel re-affirmed during the Tripartite Meeting in January, 2016 in Nicosia and again in December, 2016 in Jerusalem their full support towards the timely implementation of the EuroAsia Interconnector. In June this year, meeting in Thessaloniki, Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Benjamin Netanyahu and President Nicos Anastasiades issued a trilateral declaration of co-operation and agreed “in the field of the Fiber Optic Undersea Cable, to support the deployment of new cable interconnections among the three countries. Such infrastructure is a critical link between Europe, Middle East and Asia and will enhance the capacity of internet connections.”

The EuroAsia Interconnector as a leading Project of Common Interest (PCI) of the European Union, falls within the EU energy policy and contributes to the energy targets of ending the energy isolation of Cyprus and Crete. Furthermore, it ensures the security of energy of supply of the three countries and of the EU system altogether, through the integration of the isolated small systems of Cyprus and Crete with the Israeli and European Network and the uninterrupted – multidirectional flow of energy.

It also promotes the substantial development of RES and contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions, and contributes to the EU target for 10% of electricity interconnection between member states by 2020. The whole project is estimated to have socio-economic benefits of 10 bln euros.

The first, 329km interconnection will be between Hadera (Israel) and Kofinou (Cyprus), delivery in 2019; the second, 310km interconnection will be an internal line between Korakia, Crete and Attica region (Greece), delivery 2020; the third, 879km interconnection will be between Kofinou (Cyprus) and Korakia, Crete (Greece), delivery 2022.

Stage I of the project is expected to cost EUR 1.5 bln, with the cost rising to 3 bln at Stage II. It is privately funded and received EU/EC funding for pre-works studies, as it will contribute to the completion of the European Internal Market. Two Italian companies (GAS S.r.l and CESI S.p.A.) were contracted for three studies for the technical design, the reconnaissance study for the optimum route and an environmental impact study.