Interconnector starts to take shape
On-site inspections have taken place of the cable landfall area near Haifa, in Israel, from where the ambitious multi-billion EuroAsia Interconnector project will be launched, with Cyprus expected to join the grid and receive electricity from the world’s longest sub-sea cable in 2019.
The project, expected to cost about 4 bln euros by its completion in 2022, will also connect Cyprus to Greece, via Crete, thus ending the energy isolation of outer-lying Greek islands, while Israel will also embark on a new era of energy security, as the Interconnector will also the import of electricity in times of crisis.
George Killas, Project Director of the joint venture between DEH Quantum Energy and the Israel Electric Corporation Ltd. (IEC) and Dr. David Elmakias, the IEC Senior Vice President of Planning, Development and Technology, who is the IEC’s EuroAsia Project manager, inspected the cable landfall area (Joint-Pit) in Hadera. They later reviewed progress in the project so far and its benefits to the partner countries and the European Union.
The Interconnector is a European Project of Common Interest (PCI) and consists of a 400 kV DC underwater electric cable interconnecting the Cypriot, Israeli and the Greek transmission networks.
It will have a capacity of 2000 MW and a total length of around 820 nautical miles or 1518 km (329 km between Cyprus and Israel, 879 km between Cyprus and Crete and 310 km between Crete and Athens) and allow for the bidirectional transmission of electricity between connected countries.
The project will end the energy isolation of Israel, Cyprus and Crete, enhance security of supply and enable development for generation from renewable energy resources. In addition, the project will give Israel the opportunity to export electricity.
Three studies for the Technical/Technological Study, the Reconnaissance Survey and the Environmental Studies/EIA, have all been approved European Union.
The project will also allow Cyprus to meet interconnection targets allowing at least 10% of its installed electricity output to be available across borders. In March, twelve EU member states, including Cyprus, missed this target.
According to George Markopouliotis, the Head of the EC Representation in Cyprus, the Commission has drawn up a list of 137 electricity projects, including 35 that aim on electricity interconnection.
The project standing out for Cyprus is the EuroAsia Interconnector. Such projects may access the 5.85 bln euro fund for the “Connecting Europe” facility and, according to Markopouliotis.
He said that the first round of funding, worth 647 mln euros, includes the leg of the EuroAsia Interconnector project that will link between Hadera in Israel and Vassilikos in southeastern Cyprus. The project has been allocated 1.3 mln euros for a feasibility study, while two more Cypriot projects figure in the list, comprising the electricity interconnection of Cyprus and Crete and a set of gas projects, including the pipeline and the LNG storage facility in Vassilikos.
Markopouliotis said that “Energy Union is a top priority for President Juncker”, adding that energy-related problems can only be effectively dealt with though coordinated action at the European level.