By Natasa Pilides
Signing the Memorandum of Understanding between Cyprus, Israel and Greece, on cooperation regarding the EuroAsia Interconnector Project marks another important milestone in our three countries’ joint efforts to promote regional cooperation in the field of energy.
Indicating the strong bonds of our people and building on the work done by our governments, the MoU we signed enhances the cooperation between Cyprus, Israel, and Greece in supporting the planning, potential development and implementation of the EuroAsia Interconnector, an additional element of the emerging Eastern Mediterranean Energy Corridor.
The Project is a cornerstone of our efforts to transition to a green economy and fully align economic growth with environmental protection.
Once constructed, it will facilitate the integration of additional Renewable Energy Sources (RES) in our energy supply mixes and, thus, enhance our ability to meet our respective commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
For Cyprus in particular, the EuroAsia Interconnector will constitute a decisive step towards ending the island’s energy isolation and, consequently, our dependence on heavy fuels.
This isolation has been a major hindrance to our economy’s overall competitiveness, and we are now working hard to promote, in parallel, several different solutions.
Apart from regional electricity interconnections, these also include a fully liberalised electricity market by early 2022, plans for installing energy storage systems and construction of the “CyprusGas2EU” project.
The latter is on course to be completed by the end of 2022 and includes an LNG import terminal at the Vasilikos area that will be ready to receive the first gas, initially to be used for power generation.
The EuroAsia Interconnector Project, of course, as a 2000 MW electricity highway running through Israel, Cyprus and Greece, the first phase of which is expected to be operational within 2025, will not only connect our island with the energy grids of Asia and Europe but also contribute to the completion of the European Internal Market.
As such, it is acknowledged by the European Commission as a key Project of Common Interest and eligible for financing from the “Connecting Europe Facility”.
The three countries signing the MoU have come to the common understanding that we need to cooperate in facilitating the timely granting of permits and approvals needed for carrying out feasibility studies and the discussions and coordination between our national electricity regulatory authorities and Transmission System Operators.
Moreover, we must ensure adherence to appropriate environmental standards during all stages of the Project’s implementation, endeavour to harmonise our respective technical standards and examine the ways and means of ensuring the safety, security, sustainability, resilience and reliability of the electricity interconnector cable.
Cyprus, Israel, and Greece have so much to gain from implementing the EuroAsia Interconnector Project.
Fortifying our electricity grids and allowing the further integration of RES, enhancing our security of energy supply and becoming exporters of energy are but a few of the tangible benefits, which we hope to harness in the most efficient way possible through today’s (Monday) MoU.
Natasa Pilides is Minister of Energy, Commerce, and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus