EuroAsia link ‘more compelling than ever’

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Regional energy regulators meeting in Larnaca this week concluded that despite disruptions in the world energy markets, the prospects for the future of Cyprus and the wider eastern Mediterranean are promising.

The Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA), the energy regulator of Greece (RAE), colleagues from Israel and Egypt, and officials of the transmission systems of the four countries said the new reality that determines the geopolitics and energy markets creates new opportunities for projects such as the EuroAsia Interconnector and the parallel Cyprus-Egypt electricity link.

The aim is to achieve a single regulatory framework for the overall market relations of the participant countries.

RAE Chairman Prof. Athanasios Dagoumas emphasised Greece’s strategic role as an “energy gateway” of the Balkans, especially after Russia invaded Ukraine, creating a source of energy security and supply.

He said that the energy interconnections underway in the eastern Mediterranean are playing a key role in this development.

Host CERA Chair Andreas Poullikkas said Cyprus is a focal point on the international energy map.

Given its energy geostrategy position, it has become a key pillar of Europe’s energy security.

Cyprus Energy Ministry Director-General Marios Panayides, on behalf of Minister Natasa Pilides, highlighted the importance and necessity of key infrastructure projects, such as the Israel-Cyprus-Greece and Egypt-Cyprus electricity interconnections.

He said these electricity links would offer benefits, such as strengthening energy security, ending the energy isolation of Cyprus, and supporting efforts to eliminate carbon emissions while allowing faster integration of RES in the energy mix of neighbouring countries.

In January, the 1,000 MW EuroAsia Interconnector secured €657 mln in funding from the EU’s ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ and the €100 mln from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) announced in the summer of 2021.

Delegates at the regulators’ meeting concluded that more efficient and cheaper electricity generation could be achieved only through cross-border cooperation on renewable energy.

Apart from increased market certainty and open access to new resources and opportunities while facilitating other international projects.

They said this regional cooperation would contribute to integrating the EU internal energy market and harmonising national legislative and policy approaches in the EU Member States and the Mediterranean partners.

During an earlier meeting in Athens in June, the Greek and Israeli energy regulators discussed the increasingly favourable conditions regarding implementing the EuroAsia Interconnector.

They said the landmark electricity infrastructure, described by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as “the longest and deepest electricity link in the world”, is breathing new life under the pressure of the REPower EU plan to break free from Russian energy and find new sources and supply routes for natural gas and green electricity.

Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE), which has shown keen interest in investing in the EuroAsia link, estimates the project is part of the wider European and national effort to create new “electric highways” that will connect Greece with countries of the greater region.