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European Investment Bank might fund Cyprus electricity project

eib
EIB president Werner Hoyer

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is in the process of formulating a decision on the EuroAsia Interconnector, its president Werner Hoyer said on Monday.

His comments were understood to leave the possibility of funding open, after reports in August said the EIB had denied EuroAsia Interconnector a €2 billion loan.

“The official position to assess funding the project is underway, but we know that this exciting project has consequences to the energy supply for consumers and producers in Cyprus. It also has a geopolitical dimension, and this is because it is a comprehensive project for which we are looking at very closely,” he said.

“We are not held back by traditions, or prejudices or an ideology.”

Hoyer was speaking during a press conference organised with the finance ministry, where he linked the project’s potential with the aim of reducing energy costs for Cypriot consumers.

He added that at the end of the day, the project should contribute to improving electricity supply for its citizens. Hoyer highlighted he was aware that electricity prices were “extremely high” in Cyprus and are a significant burden to households.

Hoyer specified the project would be successful if it was linked with utilising the “enormous potential” Cyprus has in renewable energy sources.

“I am impressed by the Cypriot government’s determination to pay a lot of attention to this dimension, not only to renewable energy, but also to the need for storage and transmission,” he added.

“Transmission connections, storage facilities, such as batteries, will be at the heart of these activities and I welcome the intention of the Cypriot government.”

Asked whether the EIB was re-examining the possibility of funding considering it had been previously floated that funding for the project would be rejected, Hoyer said “the project’s idea is further developing and we are very happy about it.”

He explained he met with Energy Minister George Papanastasiou earlier in the day and was encouraged by the minister’s approach on matters concerning transporting and storing electricity, so as to reduce the price of electricity.

“What matters at the end of the day is that electricity prices for the Cypriot consumer become cheaper and not more expensive. If this becomes apparent, then I believe there are good prospects for this project,” he concluded.

Last month, the Cypriot company behind the subsea power cable linking Greece, Israel and Cyprus quit the project entirely.

Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator had taken over from the Cypriot company EuroAsia Interconnector Ltd as the project promoter.

 

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