The construction of the cable section for the initial leg of the Greece-Cyprus-Israel EuroAsia Interconnector is underway, the CEO of Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) said in an interview on Saturday.

Nexans has been contracted to start the cable (HVDC) construction, set to begin in the second quarter of 2024.

During the same period, the seabed study in the marine area between Crete and Cyprus, where the cable will be laid, will begin. The cable laying is expected to be completed by 2026, if everything progresses according to schedule.

Manos Manousakis, CEO of IPTO told CNA, they had fulfilled the first milestone of the contract with Nexans, amounting to €55 million, and simultaneously sent the ‘First Notice to Proceed’ to the company.

This marks the official commitment of the project’s implementing body to the cable manufacturer to immediately start cable production at the factory.

“With this step, the construction of the cable by Nexans is now definitively secured, and the project passes another milestone in line with the directives set by the European Commission,” he noted.

“We can now say that the project has started,” he said.

In a statement published on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange, IPTO said that as the new project promoter, it has instructed the contractor Nexans to reserve the necessary slot for cable production for the Crete-Cyprus interconnection.

“This marks the first significant step in the contract signed last July. The project is now in motion, signalling the commencement of work on the flagship project, just before 2023 ends and shortly after IPTO assumed the role of project promoter,’’ it says.

‘’The transfer of contracts with contractors Nexans and Siemens, along with the relocation of the €657 million grant agreement from CINEA (the European Union’s Executive Agency for Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment) to IPTO, has taken place.”

CINEA has disbursed an advance payment of €55 million as part of the €657 million “First Notice to Proceed” to Nexans, initiating construction work on the cable.

‘’Concurrently, Siemens, the contractor for the Cyprus conversion station, is fast-tracking the pivotal Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) study, determining equipment details for the project,’’ IPTO adds.

IPTO said efforts were underway to attract new investors with agreements signed with the Israeli fund Aluma and a Memorandum of Understanding between IPTO, the Cyprus energy ministry and funding from the United Arab Emirates.

‘’Recently, there has been heightened interest from investment funds in USA and other countries, as evidenced by discussions with IPTO.”

The EuroAsia Interconnector is a planned HVDC interconnector between the Greek, Cypriot, and Israeli power grids via the world’s longest submarine power cable, with a length of 310 kilometres from Israel to Cyprus and 898 kilometres from Cyprus to Greece for a total of 1,208 kilometres.