Ceremony on the start of the construction works of the EuroAsia Interconnector held at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia

“We can weather the storm”

2 mins read
  • Cyprus launches milestone EU electricity highway  

Europe is at the centre of an unfolding energy crisis and nearly ten years after the previous energy crisis, at the time prompted by Russia’s occupation of Crimea, the Union is turning inward to a connected internal market, its most senior energy official said.

A bright light within this challenge is the EuroAsia Interconnector, the longest and deepest subsea electricity link inaugurated on Friday that will provide continental Europe with a secure supply of power, generated from green and renewables sources.

Cyprus launched the landmark European Union 1,200-kilometre electricity highway that will transfer power to the bloc via Greece and Israel, ensuring the security of supply, officials said.

The EuroAsia Interconnector is the largest funded EU project to support the first electricity link between Cyprus and the European grid.

A ceremony took place in Nicosia to mark the occasion attended by President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas, his Cypriot counterpart Natasa Pilides and European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.

Simson said the project would help Europe’s diversity and enhance its energy security due to an embargo on Russian gas supplies.

“In the current energy crisis, the importance of the project is highlighted more than ever. I am deeply convinced that we can weather the storm, but only if we work together,” said Simson.

“Europe’s strong financial support clearly indicates the importance of the project and dedication of the European Commission to do it.”

Brussels has approved 757-million-euro funding for the construction of the subsea electricity cable integrating it with Greece and Israel, ending the eastern Mediterranean island’s “energy isolation”.

“I could only characterise this day as historic…we are now in a position to proceed with the construction phase of the EuroAsia Interconnector, an emblematic project of great geopolitical, strategic and national importance,” said Anastasiades.

He said it was part of the next steps in “implementing the emerging Eastern Mediterranean Energy Corridor” and contributing to EU climate goals.

The EuroAsia Interconnector will connect the national electricity grids of Cyprus, Greece, and Israel through a 1,208-kilometre long subsea high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) cable.

New world records

The commission has said the “898 kilometres of undersea cables and maximum sea depth of 3,000 metres will set new world records for a project of this kind”.

The cable will have a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, expandable to 2,000 MW.

Construction is scheduled to start this year and be completed in 2027, with an operating horizon in the first half of 2028.

Cyprus is the last member of the European Union, which remains fully isolated without any electricity or gas interconnections.

It also creates an electricity highway from Israel-Cyprus, Greece (Europe) through which the EU can securely be supplied with electricity produced by the gas reserves of Cyprus and Israel and available Renewable Energy Sources (RES).

The EuroAsia’s founder and CEO, Nasos Ktorides, said that the interconnector was conceived some 11 years ago, and has evolved into a multi-terminal project of cutting-edge technology.

“It terminates the energy isolation of the whole of Cyprus, creating significant benefits for the Cypriot economy and for all Cypriots.”

Anastasiades said: “By the end of 2027, once the first interconnection is in place, Cyprus will have an excess of renewable energy that could be exported or exchanged, in addition to the quantities that could be available from Egypt, Israel, and Greece.”

He said Cyprus can become a net exporter of electricity at capacities ranging from 120 Gigawatt hours in 2027 to 1000 in 2030, exceeding 1800 in 2033.

Preparations are also underway for the parallel EuroAfrica Interconnector, connecting Cyprus-Greece- Egypt.