In­ter­con­nec­tor starts to take shape

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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