ATHENS – Greece’s push to diversify sources will include a so-called Energy Highway, the world’s longest and deepest power cable, under the Mediterranean, to connect with the electricity grids of Israel and Cyprus.
The EuroAsia Interconnector has been more than 10 years in the planning and will cost 2.5 billion euros ($2.64 billion), with half of the funding secured so far, reported the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS.)
The first stage, which got a 657 million euro ($694.29 billion) European Union grant, will run 898 kilometers (558 miles) to tie the three countries grids together via Crete, the report said.
The second stage will be 310 kilometers (190 miles) long and connect Kofinou in Cyprus and Hadera in Israel. The project is slated to be completed within five years and would end Cyprus’ status as the only non-connected EU state.
The cable will reach depths of up to 3,000 meters (more than 9,800 feet), equal to eight times the height of the Empire State Building and nine times the Eiffel Tower. The 1280 kilometer (751 mile) 2,000-megawatt undersea cable will have the capacity to power three million households.
“This is a tangible result of the strength of our trilateral relations and opens up opportunities for the entire region,” Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Natasa Pilides told JNS.
“Our objective is not just to interconnect Cyprus with the EU market, but is one of geo-political importance connecting the Eastern Mediterranean to the electricity market in Europe,” she said.
It’s also a push for Greece, Cyprus and the EU to wean off reliance on Russian supplies that were nonetheless exempted from the bloc’s sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine that spiked energy prices.
“In these turbulent times when energy security and affordability are no longer a given, this project can be a way out which combines all our three objectives: energy security, energy affordability and green transition,” Pilides said.
The Cypriot minister said that they will “very soon” be applying for additional funding for the Cyprus-Israel section, which she hopes can progress “in parallel or very shortly after” work on the Cyprus-Crete part, the report said.
The electricity link seems set to bump off a potential project for a gas pipeline between the three countries to Europe via Greece, the so-called EastMed that Cyprus had touted but could be sidelined, the news site also said.