Cyprus Energy, Commerce and Industry Minister Natasa Pilides, Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, and Greece’s Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas signed on March 8 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to speed up technical work on the project to connect Israel, Cyprus and Greece with a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable.
Pilides hosted the ceremony with Steinitz in the capital Nicosia while Skrekas participated virtually from Athens.
“The three Ministries, in recognizing the high level of trilateral cooperation in the field of energy between Cyprus, Israel and Greece, view the EuroAsia Interconnector, an EU Project of Common Interest, as a major step forward for providing the necessary synergies that will facilitate the integration of additional renewable energy sources in their respective electricity and primary energy supply mixes, thereby enhancing the ability of the three countries to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” the ministers said in a joint statement.
Pilides Steinitz and Skrekas agreed to promote cooperation to examine the possibility of planning, as well as the potential development and implementation of the Project. The three countries signing the MoU, have come to the common understanding that they need to cooperate in facilitating the timely granting of permits and approvals needed for carrying out feasibility studies, as well as the discussions and coordination between their national electricity regulatory authorities and Transmission System Operators.
Moreover, they must ensure adherence to appropriate environmental standards during all stages of the Project’s implementation, endeavour to harmonise their respective technical standards and examine the ways and means of ensuring the safety, security, sustainability, resilience and reliability of the electricity interconnector cable.
At the signing of the MoU between Cyprus, Israel and Greece on cooperation in relation to the EuroAsia Interconnector Project, Pilides said this event marks another important milestone in the joint efforts of the three countries to promote regional cooperation in the field of energy. “Indicating the strong bonds between our people and building on the work done by our governments over the past few years, especially during the trilateral summits of our Heads of State, the MoU that we sign today enhances further the cooperation between Cyprus, Israel and Greece in supporting the planning, potential development and implementation of the EuroAsia Interconnector, as an additional element of the emerging Eastern Mediterranean Energy Corridor,” Pilides said.
“The Project is a cornerstone of our efforts to transition to a green economy and to fully align economic growth with environmental protection. Once constructed, it will facilitate the integration of additional Renewable Energy Sources (RES) in our energy supply mixes and, thus, enhance our ability to meet our respective commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” the Cypriot minister said.
For Cyprus in particular, the EuroAsia Interconnector will constitute a decisive step towards ending the island’s energy isolation and, consequently, the country’s dependence on heavy fuels, she said. “This isolation has been a major hindrance to our economy’s overall competitiveness and we are now working hard to promote, in parallel, several different solutions. Apart from regional electricity interconnections, these also include a fully liberalised electricity market by early 2022, plans for installation of energy storage systems and construction of the ‘CyprusGas2EU’ project,” she said, adding that the latter is on course to be completed by the end of 2022 and includes a liquified natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Vasilikos area that will be ready to receive first gas, initially to be used for power generation.
“The EuroAsia Interconnector Project, of course, as a 2.000 MW electricity highway running through Israel, Cyprus and Greece, the first phase of which is expected to be operational within 2025, will not only connect our island with the energy grids of Asia and Europe, but will also contribute to the completion of the European Internal Market. As such, it is acknowledged by the European Commission as a key Project of Common Interest and eligible for financing from the ‘Connecting Europe Facility,’” Pilides said.
According to the Cypriot minister, her country, Israel and Greece have so much to gain from the implementation of the EuroAsia Interconnector Project. “Fortifying our electricity grids and allowing the further integration of RES, enhancing our security of energy supply and becoming exporters of energy, are but a few of the tangible benefits, which we hope to harness in the most efficient way possible through today’s MoU,” she said.
According to the embassy of Israel in Cyprus, the EuroAsia interconnector will help build on more options for renewable energy, contribute to energy security and in reducing energy prices.