For both Israel and Cyprus, connecting the countries through an underwater cable
will foster more than just electrical stability for two energy islands – it will
further the sense of “duty and friendship” between two allies, Athanasios
Ktoridis, chairman of the board of DEH Quantum Energy, said in Jerusalem on
“Through this project we shall develop a better understanding of
our diverse and bountiful cultures,” Ktoridis said.
DEH Quantum Energy is
owned by Greece’s DEH Public Power Corporation, Quantum Energy of Cyprus and the
Bank of Cyprus.
Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau signed a memorandum
of understanding on Sunday with Ktoridis, Israel Electric Corporation officials,
Cypriot Ambassador Dimitris Hatziargyrou and Greek Ambassador Kyriakos Loukakis,
to signal the launch of a trilateral cable project that will ultimately link
Israel’s electricity supply with that of the European Union.
it is also important to just be connected to Europe,” Landau said. “We are an
energy island and this has its political significance.”
The cable will be
287 kilometers long, buried at a depth of more than 2,000 meters and have a
capacity of 2,000 megawatts – “one of the biggest in the world,” according to
Yakov Hain, senior vice president of engineering projects at IEC.
project is slated to start immediately, with a feasibility study presented to
all three governments in roughly six to eight months and then a fully
operational system on board by 2016, Hain said.
“We are anxiously waiting
for the results of this feasibility study,” Hatziargyrou said. “It is an
important development and it comes at a time when the relationship between
Cyprus and Israel is blossoming. As we experienced this past summer in Cyprus
[with] the construction of the power station we really feel the need for what we
call energy security.”
Ultimately, electricity lines will run from Israel
to Cyprus to Crete, and then through the exisiting cable to mainland Greece,
enabling the connection of European and Asian electricity supplies, Hain
The cost of the project should be roughly 1.5 billion euros, but
there is no official estimate yet, he added.
Hain foresaw this project as
a first step toward achieving the vision of “global world energy
“The first thing that came to my mind was the crossing
of the Red Sea when the Jews left Egypt, to the big world, to the homeland,” he
said, showing a picture of Moses parting the waters. “We are also doing
something like this – after 3,500 years, we will also be part of the big
Since 1811, with the first submarine cable in Germany, countries
have been laying electrical lines underwater, and the longest cable stands at
580 kilometers between the Netherlands and Norway. Energy giant Siemens is
embarking on a project to connect the Scottish and English power grids through
the Irish Sea, which is slated to be completed in 2015.
“We have a
competition,” Hain said. “Maybe we will also be operational by 2015. This will
move through the continents and be able to connect people.”
completion of the project, Israel will not only no longer be an “energy island,”
it also will no longer be an “economic island,” according to IEC chairman
Yiftach Ron Tal.
“I am sure that in the near future Israel will be
connected not only to Cyprus but to the European grid,” Ron Tal said, adding
that this will pave the way for more cooperative projects between IEC and DEH
“Absolutely,” Ktoridis agreed.
crisis, rather than compete against each other, Israel, Greece and Cyprus came
together to invest in cooperative activity, Ktoridis said. Greece is in the
process of increasing its energy efficiency and is becoming a more significant
player in the “European energy chessboard,” while Cyprus will be able to secure
the in-and-out energy flow, he explained. Israel, in turn, can become a major
energy provider to the European continent and strengthen its own energy
Although the great length, depth and power capacity of
the planned cable is significant, these “are mere technological feats,” Ktoridis
“Nothing would be possible if it were not for the fertile
imaginations of our three countries,” he said. “We shall create a more
optimistic and joyful world for our generations to come.”
presented Landau with a glass bottle of olive oil from Cyprus, which the
minister said was a “good sign” for the start of this trilateral
“What we do today is just for the direct improvement of energy
and economic relations between Israel, Cyprus and Greece,” Landau said. “This is
just the first step... We hope this will be an anchor for stability in this
beleaguered part of the world.”