Egypt and Greece move forward on electricity interconnection project

The two countries are looking for an international consultancy firm to conduct feasibility studies related to this initiative to transport electricity from northern Egypt to Europe via an undersea cable

AP/YORGOS KARAHALIS  -   Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a joint press conference with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Europe is looking for new energy partners to deal with the current crisis and the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In this sense, countries such as Azerbaijan, Algeria and Qatar have emerged as possible alternatives to Russian energy. Similarly, Egypt has shown potential and capacity to become a reliable energy ally

In September last year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi met with the president of the Union of Greek Electric Utilities, Dimitri Kobilozis, to discuss bilateral cooperation. In this regard, they focused on the development of electricity projects based on Egyptian renewable energy sources and their export to Europe via Greece by means of a submarine cable.

This meeting was aimed at further deepening a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the two Mediterranean nations in 2021. This MoU, which already referred to such an undersea electricity interconnection, was the first such agreement signed between Europe and an African country in the southeastern Mediterranean.

AFP PHOTO / HO / EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY - Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen

Cairo has ensured that it has the modern infrastructure to carry out the project, which, according to the Egyptian presidency, will not only benefit Egypt and Greece, but also the African and European continents. "It will consolidate Egypt's position as a regional hub for energy trade of all kinds," says the Egyptian government.  

Athens and Cairo continue to make progress on this initiative. In fact, both countries are looking for an international consultancy firm to conduct feasibility studies related to the $4 billion initiative, with the capacity to transport some 3,000 megawatts per day. As reported by Asharq Business, candidates for the job include Électricité de France (EDF), Canada's Elia Grid, Italy's CESI, Germany's LAHMEYER, Ireland's EBSI and four other Greek, Belgian, Chinese and US offices.

REUTERS/SAYED SHEASHA - Electricity generation turbines partially fuelled by green hydrogen in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

"Selecting a consultant is the most important step in the project," one of the sources told the media outlet. "Once the studies related to the technical feasibility and the cable route are finalised, tenders will be launched equally between Egypt and Greece to choose suppliers to carry out the interconnection process," he added.

Another source explained that Egyptian clean energy will reach Greece, where most of it will be exported to European countries, while the rest will be used for industrial purposes in the country.

Egypt positions itself as a regional energy hub 

Egypt has been trying to position itself as a regional energy power for years. As early as 2020, it began talks with Europe with a view to exporting its energy. According to government data collected by Al-Arab, the value of Egypt's energy and electricity exports amounted to $11.1 billion in 2021.

AP/STEFAN SAUER - Cross-section of a submarine cable

In addition to this plan with Greece, Cairo is working with Italy to connect its electricity grids. In addition, tests are scheduled to begin in 2025 for the electricity interconnection between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the first major initiative of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa. 

But Egypt will not only send electricity to Europe, it will also liquefy and transport Israeli gas to Europe, as agreed with the EU last summer. "The gas will first go from Israel to Egypt through a pipeline and then be liquefied in Egyptian infrastructure and exported to Europe," explained European Commission energy spokesman Tim Mcphie after the agreement was signed by Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek al Mulla, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson and former Israeli Energy Commissioner Karim Elharar.