With the energy challenge at the forefront for so many economies, three nations – Israel, Cyprus and Greece – seek to enhance their growth and prosperity through the establishment of an integrated energy bridge. Under the Connecting Europe Facility, a total of €5.35 billion has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period 2014-2020, according to the European Commission. Τhe EuroAsia Interconnector is a European Union Project of Common Interest (PCI) and has been approved to receive €14.5 million for the Final Detailed Studies Prior to Project Implementation. The implementation date for the start of the horizon funding is June 2017 and the end date is December 2020. As mentioned above 50% of the estimated total cost will be funded by the EU. The project will contribute to achieving the Energy Union’s goals of connecting European energy networks, increasing security of energy supply, and contributing to the sustainable development by integrating renewable energy sources across the EU.
The EuroAsia Interconnector will link the electrical systems of Israel, Cyprus and Greece (via Crete) through sub-marine DC cables and HVDC onshore stations. The project creates an energy bridge between the two continents with a total length of the interconnector being approx. 1520 km, and creates a reliable alternative corridor for transferring electricity to Europe. Greece is a country that is geographically connected to the rest of Europe. Greece has an installed capacity of 13,000 MW which does not cover the country’s present needs. Given its current deficit it is obliged to import an additional electricity supply which makes production and the distribution of energy even more costly.
The leaders of the Governments of Cyprus, Greece and Israel re-affirmed during the historic Tripartite Meeting on January 28, 2016 in Nicosia and again on December 8, 2016 in Jerusalem their full support towards the timely implementation of EuroAsia Interconnector. On February 23, 2017 the European Commission announced its full backing for the EuroAsia Interconnector, the biggest electricity infrastructure project in Europe, by providing financial support for the final pre-works study.
The final transfer capacity of the Interconnector will be 2,000MW with an interconnection between Hadera (Israel) and Kofinou (Cyprus), an interconnection between Kofinou (Cyprus) and Korakia, Crete (Greece), and an internal line between Korakia, Crete and Attica region (Greece). Pre-construction works will commence in 2017 and the completion of the first 1,000MW interconnection between Israel – Cyprus – Greece will take place in 2022. Enjoying the unwavering support of the governments of Cyprus, Greece and Israel, the project promoter is continuing unabated with the timely implementation of the EuroAsia Interconnector in accordance to the agreed schedules for all three steps of the 1520 km ‘electricity highway’.
The Benefits of the EuroAsia Interconnector Project
The project is part of the European Union’s energy policy and receives positive evaluation due its contribution to the energy targets as presented below:
- Ends the Energy Isolation of Cyprus as an EU member state. Cyprus is the last member of the European Union which remains fully isolated without any electricity or gas interconnections. Ending the energy isolation is an important EU objective. In the same way the EuroAsia Interconnector ends the energy isolation of Crete.
- EuroAsia Interconnector creates the electricity highway from Israel-Cyprus-Crete-Greece (Europe) through which the European Union can securely be supplied with electricity produced by the gas reserves in Cyprus and Israel.
- The EuroAsia Interconnector is ensuring the security of energy of supply of the three countries and of the EU system altogether, through the integration of the isolated small systems of Cyprus and Crete with the Israeli and European Network and the uninterrupted – multidirectional flow of energy.
- Promotes the substantial development of the Renewable Energy Sources and contributes to the reduction of the CO2 emissions.
- Contributes to the target of the European Union for 10 % of electricity interconnection between Member States.
- Provides significant socio-economic benefits at the range of 10 billion euros. The expected cost of step one and step two of the project is 1.5 billion euros and will be undertaken in full by EuroAsia Interconnector.