Cyprus, Greece and Israel energy ministers signed recently a historic cooperation MoU to build the world's longest and deepest underwater power cable, the Euro-Asia Interconnector which will traverse the Mediterranean seabed and connect Cyprus into the European power network for the first time, as well as Israel. The Euro-Asia Interconnector project will cost about $900 million (€760 million), partly financed by the European Union.
The European Commission, with the support of the Cyprus Government and in agreement with the Greek Government, has appointed EuroAsia Interconnector Limited as the owner Project Promoter of EuroAsia Interconnector. The EuroAsia Interconnector is a leading European Project of Common Interest (PCI) labelled as an EU “electricity highway” connecting the national electricity grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece.
The EuroAsia Interconnector comprises the electricity interconnection between the grids of Israel, Cyprus, Greece through a subsea DC cable and with HVDC onshore converter stations at each connection point, with a total capacity of 2000MW.
The EuroAsia Interconnector subsea power cable will cover three sections of the Mediterranean, with a total length of 1,208 km. The longest section would be between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete at about 900 kilometers (560 miles). The sections between Israel to Cyprus and Crete to mainland Greece would be about 310 kilometers in length. The EuroAsia Interconnector subsea power cable will traverse the Mediterranean seabed with a maximum depth of 2,700 meters.
The EuroAsia Interconnector project will end the energy isolation of Cyprus as an EU member state. Cyprus is currently depending on heavy fuels for electricity. Cyprus is the last member of the European Union which remains fully isolated without any electricity or gas interconnections.
Israel also benefits from EuroAsia Interconnector project as a back-up power source. It would allow Israel to receive electricity backing from the power grids of the European continent in times of emergency.
Parts of the cable are already under construction. The Greek power grid operator IPTO started construction between the Greek island of Crete and Greece's mainland. The section is expected to be finished by 2023. The entire cable will be completed and connected by 2024 and operational by 2025.
The 1,208km EuroAsia Interconnector subsea power cable will cost about US$900 million (€760 million), approximately US$745,000 per kilometer on an average.
It is interesting to compare the cost of subsea power cable with that of subsea optic fiber cable which seems around US$30,000 per kilometer on an average.