Egypt-Cyprus electricity link closer after cable bids

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EuroAfrica Interconnector, developer of the 498km Egypt-Cyprus ‘electricity highway’, is a step closer to implementation and keeping its December 2023 timeframe, after receiving binding bids from two leading global cable suppliers for the high-voltage subsea interconnection.

This follows the recent announcement that Siemens will build the HVDC converter stations, having secured the final building permit from the Cyprus authorities.

The project, worth €1 bln, will start in Egypt and take the subsea route reaching its lowest point of 2,200 metres below sea-level, after which it will connect at the Cyprus station.

Already, the Planning and Housing Bureau of Cyprus has approved since November 2019 the planning permit for the HVDC converter station with a capacity of 2,000 MW, as well as the landing points of the subsea cable that connects the electricity networks of Cyprus and Egypt with Greece (Crete) and the EU, with Egypt reinforcing its role as an energy hub for Africa and the Arab world.

The first phase of the Egypt-Cyprus interconnection will have a transmission capacity of 1,000MW, with officials in Cairo calling for this capacity to be tripled to accommodate some 20% of surplus electricity supply that Egypt will have from its 15GW capacity to export that to energy-hungry markets in Europe.

During her State of the Union address this week, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen reiterated her commitment to increasing energy output from renewable sources, transmitted through interconnector links, as part of her ‘Green Deal’ to reduce emissions, cut back on hydrocarbon and coal-produce energy and achieve efficiencies.

Last week, EuroAfrica Interconnector also announced a key change in its executive management, appointing Nobel economics laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides to chair the project’s Economic Council, parallel to the Strategy Council headed by former Cyprus foreign minister Dr Ioannis Kasoulides.