Dubai: The Abu Dhabi utility company Taqa expects to take a stake in an ambitious 900-kilometer high-voltate direct current electricity project connecting Greece and Cyprus.
Under a new MoU, Taqa will explore joining Greece’s transmission system operator – the Independent Power Transmission Operation of Greece (IPTO) - and the Cyprus government as shareholder in the project expected to cost approximately Dh7.5 billion (1.9 billion euro).
The project - which will 'terminate Cyprus’ energy isolation - can help 'increase' energy security in the Eastern Mediterranean, and help with the development and export of clean energy to Cyprus, Greece and the rest of the EU.
Cyprus has 'significant green energy export potential' with the country investing in the flow of clean energy between neighbouring countries and regions. "Cyprus and Greece have some of the highest potential for renewable energy in Europe for both solar and onshore and offshore wind power generation, making the two countries ideal locations for a project of this kind," said Taqa in a statement.
“HVDC projects are vital to connect clean energy projects to the end-users,” said Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO of Taqa. “We are ambitiously accelerating investment and growth in our infrastructure business to help our stakeholders scale up their clean energy to meet the growing demand for secure, reliable and sustainable power.”
End 'energy isolation'
“As an EU Project of Common Interest, which has already been approved for a 657 million euro grant from the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’, the interconnection is of crucial importance to Cyprus as its construction will lift our island’s ongoing energy isolation,” said George Papanastasiou, Cyprus’ Minister of Energy, Commerce, and Industry.
The project is also key to reaching Cyprus’ wider energy strategy goals of fortifying its energy security, reducing the cost of electricity for the benefit of our economy’s competitiveness, as well as expediting our green transition.”
The inter-connection project with Greece is at an 'advanced stage', with feasibility studies complete and contracts on two major engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) components reserved.
In July last, Nexans was awarded a 1.43 billion euro contract for the HVDC cables contract. Siemens AG was appointed as the preferred bidder for the contract to build the two VSC HVDC converter stations for the project.
Greece's IPTO - a promoter in the project - is implementing a 5 billion euro development programme by the end of the decade, which includes a series of island interconnections within Greece as well as cross-border interconnections.
Among the major projects the Greek TSO is implementing are the Attica-Crete interconnection - one of the 'biggest and more challenging HVDC projects currently under construction' - and the interconnections of the Western Cyclades, Dodecanese and the North Aegean islands. There is also a second interconnection with Italy, which will triple the net capacity for the transfer of electricity between Italy and Greece.
IPTO is maturing the Green Aegean Interconnector (GAI), a new corridor for the transmission of clean energy generated in the Eastern Mediterranean and the south of Europe directly to major consumption centres and industrial zones in central Europe.
Taqa's third of 2023
- The Greece-Cyprus venture is Taqa's third HVDC project outside of the UAE announced this year.
- In November, it signed an MoU with the Romanian Power Grid Company Transelectrica, Meridiam, E-INFRA and Fluor for a feasibility study on an HVDC infrastructure project in Romania.
- Last April, Taqa invested Dh113 million in Xlinks First ltd. for the 'world’s longest' HVDC subsea cables between the UK and Morocco to transport renewable power to the UK.