A number of developments taken place in the last weeks have raised questions whether the EuroAsia Interconnector project, aiming to link the countries of Greece, Cyprus and Israel with a subsea cable of 2 GW capacity, is still alive.
pv magazine has learned that EuroAsia Interconnector Ltd, the Cyprus-based company that is the project’s promoter, will close down by the end of the year.
The news follow a joint press release published on 6th October by the EuroAsia Interconnector Ltd and Greece’s electricity transmission system operator, announcing the designation of the Greek operator as the new promoter of the interconnection project.
The press release said that the EuroAsia Interconnector Ltd and Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) “will work closely together so that the smooth transition to the new project promoter of the electricity interconnection of Greece, Cyprus and Israel is rapid as required by the project implementation timeframe and anticipated by the governments and the European Commission.”
The press release presents this as a good development adding that IPTO’s assumption of the new role “ensures the technical and financial adequacy of the project and lays the foundations for its timely completion.”
The EuroAsia cable is set to have a 2 GW capacity, lay in the Mediterranean Sea at a maximum depth of about 2,700 meters and run for about 1,500 km making it the world’s longest underwater power cable. It is branded as the eastern Mediterranean’s “electricity highway”.
This is where the biggest problem currently is. The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) refused in August to approve a loan for the EuroAsia Interconnector project raising concerns whether the project can attract the backing of private investors.
The EIB’s assessment has indeed praised the project arguing it can lead to potential savings of about €300 million annually on electricity bills for consumers of Greece and Cyprus by linking the two countries’ grids; and that the economic gains from the project might surpass its construction and operation costs. However, the bank has also suggested an alternative solution and this is energy storage.
EIB’s assessment sparked a debate, with the EuroAsia Interconnector Ltd arguing that EIB’s energy storage scenario for Cyprus, envisioning the installation of 1350 MW of battery capacity lasting four hours, is flawed for various reasons. Such reasons include the life of the batteries, which “is 15 years compared to 40/50 years which is the life of the electricity interconnector”; the bank’s assessment did not consider the degradation factor of the batteries which is usually 2.6% of the time; and that “in the event of a serious breakdown or blackout, the batteries can supply energy to the Cyprus electrical system for only four hours, and that, if they are fully charged at that particular moment,” said EuroAsia Interconnector Ltd.
Last but not least in the list of concerns about the development of the project is the current turbulence in the Middle East and specifically the recent terrorist attack on Israel’s citizens and the country’s reaction to it. The prospect of a long war in the region might decrease Israel’s appetite for the third segment of the electricity interconnector, connecting Israel to Cyprus.
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: [email protected].
Source: pv magazine