Greece, Cyprus and Israel are set to begin building an electricity interconnector with initial transmission capacity of 1,000 MW, in late 2018 or early 2019, a project that would end Cyprus’ energy isolation, according to experts.
The project known as EuroAsia Interconnector is a European Union Project of Common Interest, that will connect the national grids of Israel, Cyprus and Crete-Attica in Greece. The construction of the first stage with an estimated budget of 3.5 billion euro and transmission capacity of 1,000 MW is scheduled to be completed in 2022. The second stage will upgrade the electricity interconnector to 2,000 MW.
The Ministry of Energy and the EuroAsia Interconnector, the project developer, organised on Monday a public consultation in Nicosia.
Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis told the press on the sidelines of the event that the EuroAsia Interconnector is of strategic importance in the energy sector, and that it could bring down the cost of electricity for consumers. He added that currently studies are underway.
“After the completion of Cyprus` interconnection with Crete and Israel, it will be the first time that our country will be interconnected with some external electricity networks,” he noted. This, he said, will bring about stability to the electricity system of Cyprus and will boost energy supply.
He went on pointing out that the project is of strategic importance as it will bring the countries involved even closer together.
According to Lakkotrypis the cable will be connected to the network of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) and will operate in a bi-directional way, allowing both imports and exports of electricity.
Asked how consumers could benefit from the project, he noted that it could bring prices down, noting that energy generated from renewable energy sources (RES) will be channeled to it.
Through the interconnection with the other networks, power generated from RES could be exported to foreign markets in an optimal way, he added.
Addressing the event earlier, the Minister stressed that the EuroAsia Interconnector is a project of particular national geopolitical importance, as it “enables Cyprus and Greece to act as bridges of cooperation, linking Eastern Mediterranean to the European Union”.
This electricity interconnection, he noted, is the first cross-border electricity transmission project on the “electric corridor” connecting the Eastern Mediterranean with the Aegean Sea and south-eastern Europe and will also be the “electricity highway” between Europe and south-eastern Mediterranean.
George Killas, Project Director of EuroAsia Interconnector, said that the construction of the first power “corridor”, with a capacity of 1,000 MW, will commence at the end of 2018 or at the beginning of 2019.
He explained that the first part, connecting Crete to Attica region in Greece would be completed at the end of 2020, the second part connecting Cyprus to Crete would be completed at the end of 2021, while the whole project would be completed at the end of 2022.
Killas said that the cost of the first stage is estimated at 3.5 billion euro. He added that the procurement process for the construction will take place in the Autumn.
He noted that the socio-economic benefits of the project are estimated between 500 million euro and one billion euro annually.
There will also be significant benefits for the consumers, Killas said, referring to price reductions.