Cyprus and Egypt signed a bilateral agreement on electricity interconnection in Nicosia on Saturday that paves the way for the €2.5 bln EuroAfrica Interconnector to move ahead with final feasibility studies, permits and licensing.
The project will allow Egypt to export its electricity produced from renewable sources (RES) to energy-thirsty Europe via the 1,396km subsea cable from Damietta to Kofinou, then to Korakia in Crete where it will connect to the Greek network and then to continental Europe.
The first phase of the EuroAfrica Interconnector will have a transmission capacity of 1,000MW, with a capability to double to 2,000MW.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in electricity cross-border interconnection was signed at the Presidential Palace by Energy and Trade Minister Natasa Pilides and Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Dr Mohamed Shaker El – Markabi.
This follows a similar bilateral agreement signed by Dr Shaker in Athens on Thursday with his Greek counterpart, Costas Skrekas.
In a joint statement after the signing ceremony in Nicosia, the two ministers said they view “this Interconnection as a major step forward for providing the necessary synergies that will facilitate the integration of additional renewable energy sources in their respective electricity and primary energy supply mixes.”
Permitting and implementation
In this context, the ministers said they “will establish a general framework of cooperation to enable the planning, permitting, development and implementation of the electricity interconnection.”
“Such cooperation will involve facilitating the timely granting of permits and approvals, both for carrying out all necessary studies on the technical and economic levels and for implementation of the interconnection, the discussions and coordination between Regulatory Authorities and Electricity Transmission System Operators and coordination of appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of the electricity interconnection.”
Welcoming Dr Shaker to Cyprus, Minister Pilides said the MoU “marks an important milestone in the joint efforts of the two countries to promote regional collaboration in the field of energy. And, of course, it reaffirms the strong bonds between our people.”
“For Cyprus, this electricity interconnection with Egypt, one of our valued strategic allies in the region, has the potential to constitute a cornerstone of our efforts to transition to a green economy, enhancing both countries’ ability to meet our respective commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”
Pilides added that there is no doubt that Cyprus and Egypt have so much to gain from the implementation of the interconnection.
“Fortifying our electricity grids and allowing the further integration of renewables in our respective energy mix, enhancing the security of our energy supply and enabling us to become 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 MoU.”
“We have come to the common understanding that we need to work closely together in facilitating the timely granting of permits and approvals needed for carrying out both feasibility studies and the construction works of the electricity interconnection, as well as the discussions and coordination between our national electricity Regulatory Authorities and Transmission System Operators.
“Moreover, we must coordinate on all the appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of the interconnection during the implementation period, as well as throughout the life of the project.”
According to news reports, a trilateral MoU is expected to be on the agenda of the next summit between the leaders of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President Nicos Anastasiades and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.