ENERGY: Cyprus-Greece electricity cable project applies for EU grant

EuroAsia Interconnector, promoter of the European project of common interest (PCI 3.10) has applied for an EU grant to construct the subsea electricity interconnection between Crete and Attica, benefiting Greek consumers by Euros 355 mln with a commissioning date of mid-2022.

The request was submitted via the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ (CEF), the European Commission’s funding arm for infrastructure projects, such as electricity links and natural gas pipelines.

This follows the landmark agreement signed with the Cyprus Ministry of Energy and Commerce two weeks ago for the 33-year lease of the site where the Israel-Cyprus-Greece project’s converter station will be built, near Kofinou.

In an announcement, EuroAsia Interconnector Limited said it remains committed to the timely implementation of the electricity interconnection in its entirety that links the electricity grids of Israel-Cyprus-Crete-Attica.

EuroAsia said the 1000MW electricity interconnection will end the energy isolation of Crete, which burdens Greek taxpayers with millions of euros every year, and Cyprus, which is the only non-interconnected EU member state.

According to the approved timeframes submitted to the European Commission, the interconnection between Crete and mainland Greece will be completed in June 2022 and Crete-Cyprus in December 2023.

As a PCI project, the EuroAsia Interconnector is eligible for funding from the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ (CEF) to a rate that may exceed 50% of the construction cost for the Cyprus-Crete-Attica interconnector.

Also, low cost financing of the project, as a PCI, by the European Investment Bank (EIB) provides additional economic benefits to Greek consumers, which is estimated to total Euros 500 mln compared with the implementation of a new competitive project as ‘national’ that is at least 18 months behind schedule compared to the EuroAsia Interconnector.

The project and the grant request enjoys the full support of the government of Cyprus and the support of the Greek government is anticipated, as the EuroAsia cable has been included in three successive PCI Lists published by the European Union in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Crete survived a mini-energy crisis earlier this year when a unit at a local power station blew up, causing an island-wide blackout.

With a record number of tourist arrivals expected this year as well, Crete’s electricity grid will be under extreme stress in the hot summer days and could cause further outages, as the outdated diesel-fuelled power stations should have been decommissioned a long time ago due to high emission levels and environmental pollution.

The EuroAsia Interconnector will allow Crete to import cheap and clean-sourced electricity from Cyprus, Israel or mainland Greece, while the addition of renewable energy sources (RES), such as wind farms and solar parks, may someday help Crete export any excess energy supply to the benefit of the local economy.

The signing of the 74,000 sq.m. land concession agreement for the construction of the HVDC converter station in Cyprus paves the way for the construction works for the EuroAsia Interconnector to begin.

The company said the technical and other studies have been completed and the environmental permit has been secured from the Cypriot authorities while planning permission is already underway for the construction of the converter station and other works.

The cost of construction of the first phase of the project (Cyprus-Crete-Attica) amounts to Euros 3.5 bln.

Source: The Financial Mirror