The construction of the cable section of the first leg of the Greece-Cyprus-Israel interconnection (the Crete-Cyprus interconnection) began with the order Nexans got from Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO), responsible for the project, to ‘reserve’ the necessary slot for the production of cables and to start relevant procedures.
This step is the first milestone in the contract signed in July, marking the start of work on the flagship project before the end of 2023, and shortly after IPTO assumed the role of project promoter through its special-purpose company Great Sea Interconnector.
This development – which demonstrates IPTO’s willingness to accelerate the project’s implementation – follows the completion of the Asset Purchase Agreement with the previous project promoter, the transfer to IPTO of the two contracts by contractors Nexans and Siemens, and the the transfer of the grant agreement for 657 million euros from the European Union’s European Climate, Environment and Infrastructure Executive Agency (CINEA).
This was followed by the disbursement by CINEA of an advance payment of 55 million euros from the 657 million (First Notice to Proceed) to Nexans, meaning the order to start construction work on the cable, and then the payment of the first instalment to the company was completed.
At the same time, the important FID study by Siemens, the contractor for the Cyprus Conversion Station, which will determine details of the equipment to be installed in the project, is picking up speed.
At the same time, procedures are underway to bring new investors into the equity of Great Sea Interconnection, since an agreement with the Israeli fund Aluma and a memorandum of understanding between IPTO, the Cyprus Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry and the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) Fund of the United Arab Emirates have also been signed. In addition, investment funds from the United States and other countries have recently approached IPTO and expressed interest in participating in the project.
In addition, talks with the European Investment Bank and commercial banks are ongoing for the borrowing leg. IPTO is also in continuous contact with regulatory authorities in both Cyprus and Israel, as the project is maturing at a fast pace at all levels – construction, funding, and regulatory.