CYPRUS: EuroAsia seeks timely implementation of multi-billion EU electricity project

Cypriot firm EuroAsia Interconnector urges Greece to cooperate in an EU-funded project so the power grids of Cyprus-Crete and mainland Greece can be connected as scheduled by end 2020.

A similar appeal was made by the EU’s Energy Directorate chief and Cyprus regulators on February 27 (joint announcement),as well as the Cyprus Ministry of Energy that urged Greece not to isolate Cyprus.

The entire project aims to eventually connect Israel to mainland Europe via a 1,518 km subsea electricity cable at an estimated cost of Euros 3.5 bln.

First phase of the interconnector project will connect the Greek island of Crete’s power grid, by 330 km cable, with mainland Greece at Attica � estimated cost Euros 1 bln � by mid-2020 then Cyprus is next to come online at the end of 2020. But a recent U-turn in Greece could change all that.

EuroAsia sounded the alarm of unavoidable lengthy delays, or worse, project risk following a recent decision by Chinese-controlled Greek transmissions system operator, ADMIE, to go it alone with the project and abandon co-operation with the Cypriot project promoter.

This was done even though there is a political commitment from the governments of Cyprus and Greece to build an electricity interconnector that ensures the security of supply and cleaner energy.

A heated debate in the Greek parliament on March 7 between Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis and his predecessor Yiannis Maniatis, over the risks of the national project and the fact that it could be penalised by the European Commission for breaking an earlier agreement, prompted EuroAsia to respond to allegations and misleading information.

The Cypriot venture argues that by Greece going it alone to promote a national project � rather than an EU Project of Common Interest – Greek consumers will be burdened with an additional Euros 450 mln cost while jeopardising efforts to lift Cyprus from energy isolation.

After Greek officials blamed EuroAsia for the current impasse, the company felt the need to clarify the state of play.

It puts the record straight regarding the financing of the Israel-Cyprus-Greece project, especially the Crete-Attica link, as well as the need for the Cyprus and Greek sides to agree on a technical commonality.

This being the interoperability of the 1000MW cable and the four converter stations that have to be built, connecting Israeli energy to the continental European electricity grid.

EuroAsia refutes any notion, as implied by ADMIE, that it is the Cypriot side that refuses to cooperate, by not signing a shareholders’ agreement for the new national project.

The delays in the implementation of the project are due to the Greek side’s failure to accept the agreed Roadmap as proposed by the European Commission, said EuroAsia in a statement.

Moreover, Energy Commissioner Manuel Arias Canete warned Greece in January that going it alone would mean violating all European agreements that could be subject to legal infringement procedures.

Canete cautioned the project may have to proceed on national funding alone, in which case Greece will also have to consider the geopolitical implications of Cyprus’ energy isolation, as well as the financial impact from missing out on EU grants.

EuroAsia, as the project promoter, argues that if previously agreed guidelines were followed, it would have already awarded tenders and reached the construction phase, comfortably meeting the mid-2022 deadline for the Crete-Attica link.

It said unilateral decisions by Greece will not resolve the delays but jeopardise the entire project at an additional financial cost to Cypriot and Greek consumers.

Stathakis also made claims about EuroAsia’s perceived lack of experience and ability to construct an electricity cable.

The company argued that as the project promoter its task is to facilitate completion of the project by awarding tenders to world-class contractors who have the know-how and experience in laying subsea cables of this depth, length and capacity.

Moreover, ADMIE would be faced with the same task if it went alone as it has no experience of such work.

The entire project (Israel to Attica) is subject to EU funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as determined by the joint cross-border cost allocation (CBCA) agreed by the two energy regulators of Cyprus and Greece, CERA and RAE.

EuroAsia clarified it has paid for studies and pre-works actions to date from its own funds and from other European grants.

It underlines that the project � which began in 2013 – has reached maturity and is in the final process of tendering, and “eligible” for further funding, including favourable low-interest loans from EIB and other lenders.

Although EuroAsia argues it has followed all the rules and regulations to the letter, both Stathakis and ADMIE have accused the Cypriot company of refusing to cooperate, by not signing a shareholders’ agreement for the new national project which was not part of the original plan.

Source: The Financial Mirror

CYPRUS: EuroAsia seeks timely implementation of multi-billion EU electricity project

Cypriot firm EuroAsia Interconnector urges Greece to cooperate in an EU-funded project so the power grids of Cyprus-Crete and mainland Greece can be connected as scheduled by end 2020.

A similar appeal was made by the EU’s Energy Directorate chief and Cyprus regulators on February 27 (joint announcement),as well as the Cyprus Ministry of Energy that urged Greece not to isolate Cyprus.

The entire project aims to eventually connect Israel to mainland Europe via a 1,518 km subsea electricity cable at an estimated cost of Euros 3.5 bln.

First phase of the interconnector project will connect the Greek island of Crete’s power grid, by 330 km cable, with mainland Greece at Attica � estimated cost Euros 1 bln � by mid-2020 then Cyprus is next to come online at the end of 2020. But a recent U-turn in Greece could change all that.

EuroAsia sounded the alarm of unavoidable lengthy delays, or worse, project risk following a recent decision by Chinese-controlled Greek transmissions system operator, ADMIE, to go it alone with the project and abandon co-operation with the Cypriot project promoter.

This was done even though there is a political commitment from the governments of Cyprus and Greece to build an electricity interconnector that ensures the security of supply and cleaner energy.

A heated debate in the Greek parliament on March 7 between Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis and his predecessor Yiannis Maniatis, over the risks of the national project and the fact that it could be penalised by the European Commission for breaking an earlier agreement, prompted EuroAsia to respond to allegations and misleading information.

The Cypriot venture argues that by Greece going it alone to promote a national project � rather than an EU Project of Common Interest – Greek consumers will be burdened with an additional Euros 450 mln cost while jeopardising efforts to lift Cyprus from energy isolation.

After Greek officials blamed EuroAsia for the current impasse, the company felt the need to clarify the state of play.

It puts the record straight regarding the financing of the Israel-Cyprus-Greece project, especially the Crete-Attica link, as well as the need for the Cyprus and Greek sides to agree on a technical commonality.

This being the interoperability of the 1000MW cable and the four converter stations that have to be built, connecting Israeli energy to the continental European electricity grid.

EuroAsia refutes any notion, as implied by ADMIE, that it is the Cypriot side that refuses to cooperate, by not signing a shareholders’ agreement for the new national project.

The delays in the implementation of the project are due to the Greek side’s failure to accept the agreed Roadmap as proposed by the European Commission, said EuroAsia in a statement.

Moreover, Energy Commissioner Manuel Arias Canete warned Greece in January that going it alone would mean violating all European agreements that could be subject to legal infringement procedures.

Canete cautioned the project may have to proceed on national funding alone, in which case Greece will also have to consider the geopolitical implications of Cyprus’ energy isolation, as well as the financial impact from missing out on EU grants.

EuroAsia, as the project promoter, argues that if previously agreed guidelines were followed, it would have already awarded tenders and reached the construction phase, comfortably meeting the mid-2022 deadline for the Crete-Attica link.

It said unilateral decisions by Greece will not resolve the delays but jeopardise the entire project at an additional financial cost to Cypriot and Greek consumers.

Stathakis also made claims about EuroAsia’s perceived lack of experience and ability to construct an electricity cable.

The company argued that as the project promoter its task is to facilitate completion of the project by awarding tenders to world-class contractors who have the know-how and experience in laying subsea cables of this depth, length and capacity.

Moreover, ADMIE would be faced with the same task if it went alone as it has no experience of such work.

The entire project (Israel to Attica) is subject to EU funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as determined by the joint cross-border cost allocation (CBCA) agreed by the two energy regulators of Cyprus and Greece, CERA and RAE.

EuroAsia clarified it has paid for studies and pre-works actions to date from its own funds and from other European grants.

It underlines that the project � which began in 2013 – has reached maturity and is in the final process of tendering, and “eligible” for further funding, including favourable low-interest loans from EIB and other lenders.

Although EuroAsia argues it has followed all the rules and regulations to the letter, both Stathakis and ADMIE have accused the Cypriot company of refusing to cooperate, by not signing a shareholders’ agreement for the new national project which was not part of the original plan.

Source: The Financial Mirror