ENERGY: EuroAsia gets green light to build Cyprus converter station

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EuroAsia Interconnector, the 1,000MW electricity link connecting the grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, has secured the necessary planning permission to start construction of the first converter station that will be built in Kofinou.

The permit, issued by the Planning Bureau, is for the construction of the high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter station, as well as the landing points of the cable, keeping the project on target for completion by December 2023.

Kofinou will be the point where the two cables – Israel-Cyprus and Cyprus-Greece – will meet, transmitting electricity from there to the European continental grid.

Energy Ministry sources said that the subsea cable, that will have an ultimate capacity of carrying 2,000MW, will end the electricity isolation of Cyprus from the rest of the EU and help reduce consumption costs, by buying electricity as a commodity from the European energy markets.

“If Cyprus has excess electricity production, either from the main power station or from solar parks and wind farm producers, this commodity can even be sold in the European market, generating revenue for our economy,” the source said.

The government official explained that it has to do with managing tariffs and keeping production costs as low as possible, transforming Cyprus into a net-energy producer and seller.

This follows the recent discovery of rich natural gas deposits in the offshore areas bordering Israel and Egypt, with Nicosia signing the first exploitation agreement earlier in November.

“With countries like Israel already aware that it will have a surplus, they will carry the natural gas to power stations from where it will be produced into electricity and carried by this cable to Cyprus, Greece and the rest of Europe.”

The project, launched in 2012, is included in the fourth PCI List of European ‘projects of common interest’ announced in October, making it eligible for EU grants from the “Connecting Europe Facility” (CEF) and low-cost financing from institutions such as the European Investment Bank.

In June, a 33-year land lease agreement was signed at the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry in Nicosia, for the construction of the HVDC converter station in Kofinou, with the project promoter having the option to renew the lease for two more periods of 33 years each.

At the same time, further environmental, technical and other studies have already been commissioned and the relevant permits received from the Cyprus authorities.

Construction cost for the first phase of the 1,000MW cable is estimated at €2.5 bln, ensuring energy security and contributes towards the emission and EU energy targets by lifting the energy isolation of Cyprus.