search

EU to fund construction of Israel, Cyprus, Greece electricity cable link

Cypriot minister says ‘Eurasia Interconnector,’ which three countries signed off on last year, could push Mediterranean island’s use of renewable energy sources above 50% by 2030

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks ahead of the eighth Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit alongside Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (left) and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, December 7, 2021. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks ahead of the eighth Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit alongside Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (left) and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, December 7, 2021. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

NICOSIA, Cyprus — The European Union has earmarked 657 million euros ($736 million) for the construction of a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable that will link the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said Thursday.

Pilides said the money — from the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility, which bankrolls infrastructure projects — will enable crews to start constructing the segment of the cable that will connect Cyprus with Crete, whose total cost is estimated at roughly 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion). Negotiations to transfer the funds are expected to wrap up this summer.

Pilides said beyond the project’s geopolitical weight, it will ensure Cyprus’ energy security, boost competitiveness in the power supply sector and help the island nation more easily transition to a green economy.

With the cable’s completion, it’s expected that more investment will flow into renewable energy sources enhancing the energy mix of Greece, Cyprus and Israel. Pilides said a study shows that the cable in combination with power storage facilities could push Cyprus’ use of renewable energy sources above 50% by 2030.

Pilides and her Greek and Israeli counterparts signed an agreement last October to speed up technical work on the cable dubbed the “Eurasia Interconnector.”

The agreement aimed to expedite permits and approvals for feasibility studies and to help the three countries’ national electricity coordinators to cooperate on how best to move forward. The cable’s first phase is expected to be completed by 2025.

Cyprus Energy Minister Natasa Pilides speaks to the Associated Press in an interview at her office in the capital Nicosia, on Oct. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Philippos Christou)

The move toward an electricity cable link appears to have supplanted plans for a potential pipeline connection between the three countries to convey gas from existing and potential deposits off Cyprus and Egypt to Europe through Greece.

Support for the so-called EastMed pipeline project has waned amid questions over its feasibility as well as its adverse impact on the environment.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said last week that studies on the pipeline’s feasibility were still ongoing, but other alternatives are open to get gas to markets.

Among the more likely options is to convey Cypriot gas to Egyptian processing plants where it would be liquefied for export by ship.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed