Von der Leyen: EuroAsia, Israel to ease EU energy dependence

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Tapping into Israel’s vast renewable energy sources will help reduce the EU’s dependence on Russia, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during her visit to Tel Aviv, highlighting the importance of Cyprus and Greece in securing supply.

She said it would be achieved through the EuroAsia Interconnector electricity link and a hydrogen-natural gas pipeline in the eastern Mediterranean.

During her Honorary Doctorate ceremony at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev on Tuesday, von der Leyen said: “We are now exploring ways to step up our energy cooperation with Israel.

“We have two major projects in preparation: the world’s longest and deepest underwater power cable, connecting Israel with Cyprus and Greece.

“This will, over time, be electrification from renewable energies. That is where the investment has to go into.”

In January, the European Union earmarked €657 mln for the construction of the 2,000-megawatt EuroAsia Interconnector subsea electricity cable linking the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, utilising funds from the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’.

Von der Leyen said Israel has “an abundance of these natural resources to produce renewable energy.

“And the second is a natural gas and clean hydrogen pipeline in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“This is an investment in both Europe’s and Israel’s energy security.

“And this infrastructure will also contribute to decarbonising our energy mix.

“It is a great example of democracies sticking together not only in times of conflict but mostly to fight this huge enemy we have, and that is climate change.

“This is the big looming crisis in the background.

“And we have to take all our knowledge, all our engineering and entrepreneurial spirit that we have to innovate, to bring about the innovative technologies, to work to fight climate change, to make this world a better place, and to hand it over to our children with still a spring, a summer, a fall and a winter to experience.”