The European Union has earmarked 657 million euros for the construction of a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable that will link the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said on Thursday.
Pilides told reporters the funding is Cyprus’ largest-ever investment as well as the lion’s share of the total sum that the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility, which bankrolls infrastructure projects, has allocated to a single project this year.
Pilides said the money enables crews to start constructing the segment of the cable that will connect Cyprus with Crete whose total cost is estimated at roughly €1.6 billion.
Negotiations to transfer the funds are expected to wrap up this summer.
Pilides said beyond the project’s geopolitical weight, it will ensure Cyprus’ energy security, boost competitiveness in the power supply sector and help the island nation more easily transition to a green economy.
With the cable’s completion, it’s expected that more investment will flow into renewable energy sources enhancing the energy mix of Greece, Cyprus and Israel.
Pilides said a study shows that, in combination with power storage facilities, the cable could push Cyprus’ use of renewable energy sources above 50% by 2030.
Pilides and her Greek and Israeli counterparts signed an agreement last October to speed up technical work on the cable dubbed the “EuroAsia Interconnector.” [AP]