The European Union has allocated 657 million euros for the construction of a 2,000 megawatt submarine power cable that will link the power systems of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, says the energy minister of Cyprus Natasa Pilides, AP reported.
According to her, the funding is the largest investment ever made by Cyprus and also the lion’s share of the total allocated this year by the European Connectivity Fund, which finances infrastructure projects, to a single project.
The money will allow the teams to launch the construction of a section of cable that will link Cyprus to Crete, at an estimated total cost of around 1.6 billion euros. Negotiations on the transfer of funds are expected to be completed this summer.
Pilides said that in addition to the project’s geopolitical weight, it will ensure Cyprus’ energy security, increase competitiveness in the energy supply sector and help the island nation transition more easily to a green economy.
With the completion of the cable, more investment in renewable energy should improve the energy mix of Greece, Cyprus and Israel. Pilides noted that the study shows that cable, combined with energy storage, could increase Cyprus’ use of renewable energy by more than 50% by 2030.
Last October, Pilides and its Greek and Israeli counterparts signed an agreement to accelerate technical work on the cable, dubbed the Eurasia Interconnector.
The first phase of the cable is expected to be completed by 2025.
The switch to an electric cable line appears to have superseded plans for a possible gas pipeline link between the three countries to transport gas from existing and potential fields off Cyprus and Egypt to Europe via Greece.
Support for the so-called Eastern Mediterranean Gas Pipeline project has dwindled amid questions about its feasibility as well as its negative environmental impacts.
Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis said last week that feasibility studies for the pipeline were still ongoing, but other alternatives were open to bring the gas to markets.
One of the most likely options is to transport Cypriot gas to Egyptian refineries, where it will be liquefied for export by sea.