Cyprus-Egypt to sign electricity cable MoU

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The ministers of energy and electricity of Cyprus and Egypt will sign a memorandum of understanding on Saturday to fast-track the construction of the EuroAfrica Interconnector, boosting exports from Cairo to Europe.

Cyprus Energy Minister Natasa Pilides will host her Egyptian counterpart, Dr Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi, for a signing ceremony at the Presidential Palace, similar to the bilateral MoU signed by Shaker and his Greek counterpart in Athens Thursday.

In a statement, the Energy Ministry said the EuroAfrica Interconnector electricity link “is part of the electricity interconnection project between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.”

The foundations for this agreement were laid down in the trilateral summit held in Nicosia in November 2017.

“The leaders’ political commitment for implementing the electricity interconnector was reaffirmed in two subsequent trilateral summits,” the announcement said.

“A trilateral MoU between the three countries will be signed immediately after the conclusion of the intensive actions underway.”

With Saturday’s MoU, Cyprus and Egypt “express their political will to facilitate the timely issuance of permits and approvals, to proceed with the feasibility studies for the construction of the subsea cable and the related infrastructure this investment requires, and the timely issuance of the necessary licenses for the construction of the project.”

The ministry said the EuroAfrica Interconnector electricity interconnection “complies with the aims of the energy strategy for a quick transition to a green economy and will help end the country’s energy isolation, with subsequent benefits.

“It will provide energy security of supply and will enhance the efforts for further integration of renewable energy sources (RES) and transition to climatic neutrality.”

Kofinou converter station

The Cypriot authorities have already greenlighted the licensing for constructing the high voltage DC converter station in Kofinou and are proceeding with all other permits.

The 1,000MW project will then connect with the Kofinou-Crete subsea electricity cable, regarded as a European project of common interest (PCI3.10).

It is under review to be included in the fifth PCI list, making it eligible for funding from the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

The whole project with the export of electricity to Egypt, Greece and Europe is expected to contribute positively to the economy by creating new jobs.

A Reuters report said: “Greece is keen to connect its power grid to Egypt, where the cost of energy from solar parks is low”.

The deal comes as Greece, Cyprus and Israel plan to build the Euro-Asia Interconnector, the world’s longest and deepest underwater power cable crossing the Mediterranean, at the cost of about $900 mln, the news agency said.

This summer, Greece linked the island of Crete to the power grid of the Peloponnese peninsula via an undersea cable, a major step in the country’s drive to cut its reliance on imported fossil fuel and boost its use of renewable energy.

Power grid operator IPTO will build a bigger €1 bln underwater power link that will connect Crete to the mainland grid by 2023.

That project will be then linked to the planned EuroAsia Interconnector.

In a recent interview with daily Phileleftheros, Egypt’s Ambassador to Cyprus Amr Mohsen Hamsa said: “The project of the electrical interconnection falls within the plan agreed within the framework of our trilateral cooperation mechanism.

“It incorporates the common potential we have to work together and unites our three countries as well as our two continents, Africa and Europe, through electrical connectivity.”