Insider / ΚΥΠΕ
Securing € 657m EU sponsorship of the EuroAsia Interconnector project paves the way for the implementation of the Cyprus-Greece-Israel electricity interconnection, which will end the energy isolation of Cyprus, said Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Natasa , welcoming yesterday's decision of the European Commission.
In her statements today, Ms. Pileidou also said that the amount of sponsorship approved for the EuroAsia Interconnector is the largest that has been secured historically for a project of the Republic of Cyprus.
€ 657 million for EuroAsia from EU Geopolitical upgrade EU approval for EuroAsia sponsorship
As he said, the implementing body had requested the amount of € 687 million for construction works in the Cyprus – Crete part, and the approval received by the European Commission concerns almost the entire amount and amounts to approximately € 657 million. The total cost of this phase amounts to € 1.57 billion.
“It makes possible the securing of the (sponsorship), the start of the construction works for the Cyprus – Crete part, whose total cost is estimated at € 1,575 billion”, said Ms. Pileidou, noting that after securing the sponsorship, a few months will follow. negotiation process between the implementing body and the Commission, which will lead to the signing of a sponsorship agreement between the two parties within the summer.
In addition, EuroAsia has secured a € 100 million sponsorship through the National Recovery and Resilience Program of Cyprus, which will be given depending on the implementation of the milestones.
Cornerstone for the green transition
According to Ms. Pileidou, in addition to its obvious geopolitical importance, the project ends the energy isolation of Cyprus, ensures the country's energy security and contributes to the development of competition in the electricity market.
“This project,” he continued, “is also the cornerstone of our efforts to move to a green economy, fully in line with our environmental policies.”
As he said, this project will facilitate the attraction of relevant investments and, consequently, the integration of additional RES projects in the energy mix of the three countries involved, Cyprus, Greece and Israel.
He noted the studies carried out in the framework of our National Plan for Energy and Climate, which show that the electrical interconnection, in combination with the use of storage systems, can by 2030 lead to RES penetration into the energy mix of Cyprus. which will exceed 50%.
For his part, EuroAsia Project Director George Killas said that the decision of the European Commission is an honor and recognition of our efforts, which began in 2011, aimed at lifting the energy isolation of the country, the last EU member state. which is still completely energy isolated and ensuring its energy security.
“The EuroAsia Interconnector electrical interconnection,” he added, “is perhaps the most important energy infrastructure project for the whole of Cyprus, which ensures the achievement of energy goals in the context of the transition to a green economy, contributes to increasing RES penetration and reducing emissions.” carbon dioxide and offers significant economic, social and environmental benefits to Cypriot and European consumers. “
According to Mr. Killas, the project consists of the electrical interconnection of the Cyprus-Greece systems, via Crete, and Cyprus with Israel with high voltage direct current submarine cables and HDVC terrestrial conversion stations at each connection point and will have a total capacity of 1,000. Megawatts (MW) and expandable to 2,000 MW with a total interconnection length of 1,208 km.
“The implementing body continues with the same dedication to work for the start of construction works in 2022 and the completion of the electrical interconnection EuroAsia Interconnector at the end of 2025 with an operating horizon in the first half of 2026,” said Mr. Killas.
Answering a question from where the remaining funds for the rest of the financing will be secured, Ms. Pileidou said that together with the € 100 million that will be given by the National Plan “Cyprus tomorrow”, the financing of the project so far reaches 50 % of total cost.
Saying that the implementing body is already in consultation with banks and investors, Ms. Pileidou stressed that “certainly securing EU funding opens more interest on the part of investors because it makes the project much more feasible and sustainable.”
Answering another question, Ms. Pileidou said that the project has secured the necessary permits in Cyprus and the licensing from the other countries involved is pending. He noted that following the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the three countries, working groups have been set up to look into technical issues in order to speed up the licensing process.
He noted as important the participation of the Independent Electricity Transmission Operator of Greece (IPTO) in the whole project.
East Med remains as PCI but the criterion is sustainability
Asked if discussions had taken place with the EU on a possible reversal of the East Med pipeline as the project continues to be considered a project of common interest (PCI), the Energy Minister said no such discussions had taken place, noting that she did not believe “that the issue of changing the course of the pipeline should be the key issue “.
As he said, there were discussions about the viability of the pipeline at a later stage and its ability to transport hydrogen, which is particularly important for the EU in order to ensure the sustainable development and viability of this project.
Ms. Pileidou noted that the whole project remains on the list of EU projects of common interest (PCI), adding that “we expect based on the latest developments it will remain for a long time as a project of common interest based on the EU categorization of gas projects “But financial viability is always the main criterion whether the project can be done or not.”
Asked whether the efforts for the East Med pipeline will continue, given the harassment of Nautical Geo, which is conducting investigations for the purpose of the pipeline, and the informal US document, Ms. Pileidou said that the issue concerns the Foreign Minister, who pays efforts to solve problems.
She noted that she believes that efforts will be made to complete the studies, as their completion “is the responsibility of the project implementing body to the EU, which funds these studies.”
Asked about the ExxonMobil confirmatory drilling works, Ms. Pileidou said that the drilling reached the required depth and started collecting information, repeating that the results will be known in March.
The good thing is that it is progressing smoothly and there is no delay but it is early for results.
The delay for the arrival of LNG is not an obstacle to market opening
Asked whether the delay in the implementation of DEFA's project for the arrival of liquefied natural gas in Cyprus will affect the operation of the competitive electricity market in Cyprus expected in October 2022, Ms. Peleidou said that the arrival of liquefied natural gas is very important, but at the same time it is important that the power plants that will compete with the EAC be erected and ready for use, which is at a fairly early stage.
“Therefore, the 9-month delay (in the work of DEFA) is not an obstacle regarding the operation of these stations because, I believe, looking at the schedules of these large stations, these large stations would not be ready, which have applied for licensing from the state.
“But, he added, the opening of the market will take place and will work in relation to the penetration of RES and the photovoltaic parks which are currently in operation or are on a tramway”.
As he said, there are many RES projects that are on track and are in the process of connection and we certainly encourage this activity very much. He added, however, that progress will be slower in terms of RES and photovoltaics because in Cyprus there is no land available for the construction of large parks, but with various small steps we will reach the goal.