EU energy crisis: Egypt to deliver 3,000 MW of electricity through an 853-mile-long undersea cable

The project will take 7-8 years.
Baba Tamim
Stock photo: Underwater cable on the ocean floor.
Stock photo: Underwater cable on the ocean floor.

imaginima/iStock  

An 853-mile-long (1,373 km) undersea electricity cable connecting Egypt with Europe has been touted to help Europe's impending energy crisis amidst Russia's war with Ukraine.

The undersea cable from northern Egypt to Attica, Greece, will be able to transport 3,000 MW of electricity, which is enough to power up to 450,000 homes, according to a report published by Euronews last month.

The project is being carried out by the Copelouzos Group, one of Greece's largest infrastructure investors, who met with the Egyptian officials earlier in September to expedite the process.

"By bringing 3,000 MW of clean energy to Europe via Greece, we are helping Europe wean itself off Russia's fossil fuels and natural gas," Ioannis Karydas, the CEO of Copelouzos Group, told Euronews.

"Also, the green energy we will transport will be much cheaper than today's energy prices. You understand that this will help both Greek and European consumers."

The project called "GREGY interconnection" is estimated to cost 3.5 billion Euros and has been designated by the European Union (EU) as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), a top priority.

And through underwater cables connected to wind and solar parks, the project will help transport renewable electricity generated in Egypt and other African nations to Europe.

Green Energy from Egypt

"Approximately one third will be consumed in Greece, and mainly in Greek industries, another third will be exported to neighboring European countries, and the remaining will be used for the production of green hydrogen," said Karydas.

"The majority of this hydrogen will also be exported to neighboring European countries."

Egypt has already completed interconnection projects with Libya, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. The Arab country aspires to become a major energy hub for Southeast Europe. And the new project connected to Europe is expected to be completed in seven to eight years.

Europe's energy crisis and the harsh winter ahead

Concerns over the impending harsh winters in Europe have been heightened by record-high gas prices and dwindling supply.

The war in Ukraine is one of the primary factors. Natural gas, which the continent has been relying on for years to power companies, provide electricity, and heat homes, has been halted by Russia.

About 40 percent of the gas consumed in the EU was supplied by pipeline from Russia, which has been reduced by 75 percent.

The TurkStream pipeline still allows Russia to export gas across Ukraine, Turkey, and the Black Sea, but the possibility of a complete shutdown has emerged sooner than many had anticipated.

Russia has said earlier that this is the natural consequence of economic sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West.

"The very sanctions that prevent the maintenance of units, which prevent them from moving without appropriate legal guarantees," Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, said in September.

"Europe doesn't have any supply of natural resources," Adam Pankratz, a professor at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business, told Al Jazeera.

"They decided that they are going to move away from fossil fuels and not drill out their own natural resources. Europe actually has a lot of gas, but they decided that they are not going to do that, and they became dependent on imported Russian gas and oil, and now that that's been cut off, they don't have a backup plan," he said.

The time required to implement solutions is one of Europe's largest obstacles as it works to address the energy crisis and people's aspirations.

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