The EU has approved a grant of 757 million euros to finance the construction of the cable in order to end the “energy isolation” of Cyprus, the only European country without gas or electricity connections to the mainland grid.
The island has been divided since the Turkish army invaded the north in 1974 in response to a coup by Greek Cypriot nationalists. The Cypriot government exercises its authority only on the southern part of the island,
Member of the EU since 2004.
The very expensive EuroAsia interconnector will connect the power grids of Cyprus to those of Israel and Greece through a high voltage direct current (HVDC-VSC) submarine transmission system.
The cable, which will run 1,208 kilometers buried at a depth of more than 3,000 meters, “will set a new world record,” according to the European Commission. The total cost of the project, which will have a capacity of 1,000 to 2,000 megawatts, is 1.57 billion euros, according to the Cypriot authorities. Speaking at the opening ceremony, the European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said that the rise in energy prices caused by the Russian offensive in Ukraine in February highlights the importance of this project that allows Europe to diversify its sources and strengthen its energy security.
For his part, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades spoke of a “historic” day, because “we are well positioned to begin the construction” of the cable.
Construction of the EuroAsia interconnector is scheduled to begin later this year and will be completed in 2027.
According to Anastasiades, Cyprus could become a net energy exporter with capacities ranging from 120 gigawatt hours in 2027 to 1,000 in 2030 and exceeding 1,800 in 2033.