Today, Monday, March 8, 2021, at a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace, the Ministers of Energy of Cyprus, Greece and Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in relation to the European Project of Common Interest “EuroAsia Interconnector” .
A joint statement issued by the three Ministers, Natasa Pilides, Konstantinos Skrekas and Dr. Yuval Steinitz, stated that recognizing the great importance of their countries’ tripartite cooperation in the field of energy, they consider the “EuroAsia Interconnector” project to be an extremely important step forward in achieving the necessary synergies that will facilitate the integration of more Renewable Energy Sources (RES) into their energy mix, thus strengthening their ability to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The project, it is pointed out, will allow countries to take advantage of the great opportunities that open up in the field of green development, contributing parallelly to the protection of the environment.
In this context, the Ministers have agreed to promote cooperation between them in order to consider the design and possible development and implementation of the “EuroAsia Interconnector” Project. Among other things, this cooperation will facilitate the timely issuance of the necessary permits and approvals, as well as discussions and coordination between regulators and electricity transmission system operators, the harmonization of their respective technical standards and the examination of ways and means to ensure the safety, viability, durability and reliability of the power interconnection cable.
In her opening remarks, Cypriot Minister of Energy Natasa Pilides stressed that the signing of the Memorandum highlights the strong ties between Cyprus, Israel and Greece, building on the work of the three governments in recent years, especially during the tripartite meetings at the level of heads of state/government. She added that it constitutes an important milestone in the joint effort of the three countries to promote regional co-operation in the field of energy, with the “EuroAsia Interconnector” project being another part of the emerging Eastern Mediterranean Energy Corridor.
She also described the project as the cornerstone of efforts to transition to a green economy, fully in line with efforts to protect the environment, as its completion will facilitate the integration of additional RES into the three countries’ energy mixes.
Specifically for Cyprus, said Natasa Pilides, “the EuroAsia Interconnector will be a decisive step towards ending the island’s energy isolation and, consequently, our dependence on conventional fuels.” As she explained, the lifting of energy isolation will strengthen the competitiveness of the country’s economy, something on which the Government is working hard. She explained that, in addition to regional electricity interconnections, the Ministry of Energy is promoting many different solutions which include a new institutional framework for a fully liberalized electricity market by 2022, plans for the installation of photovoltaic systems, energy saving and storage, and construction of infrastructure for the arrival of liquefied natural gas at the end of 2022, initially for purposes of electricity generation.
Concluding, Natasa Pilides thanked those who had worked hard to make the signing of the Memorandum possible. She expressed special thanks to Skrekas and Steinitz, but also to the members of the Israeli, Greek and Cypriot technical delegations that negotiated the Memorandum with good faith and dedication.
The European Project of Common Interest has a total capacity of 1,000 MW in the first phase and 2,000 MW in the second phase, creating a reliable alternative electricity corridor from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe.
In addition to its geopolitical importance for the Republic of Cyprus, the benefits for the country include the following:
It ensures energy security.
It ends energy isolation.
It creates an electric corridor from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe through Cyprus.
It is a necessary condition for the development of RES in Cyprus and exhibits an important role in achieving the binding energy targets of Cyprus (RES beyond 20% by 2030), in the framework of the 2021-2030 National Plan for Energy and Climate.
It contributes to the development of competition in the electricity market, the reduction of electricity costs and, consequently, to economic growth.
In Cyprus, the licensing process of the “EuroAsia Interconnector” is at a very advanced stage and the project is expected to start operating in 2025. /ibna