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Harvesting the Egyptian Sun

Last Thursday, Greece and Egypt secured an agreement to connect the two countries with an underwater cable that will transmit power produced by renewables from North Africa to Europe. The deal was signed in Athens by Environment and Energy Minister Costas Skrekas and the Egyptian Minister of Electricity and RES, Mohamed Shaker. Two days later, Cyprus also signed a similar agreement with Egypt. Together, these agreements provide a landmark move to help provide electricity from Egypt to Greece, Cyprus, and then the rest of Europe. Egypt stands to benefit considerably from the agreement, according to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as the project would be a “bridge between Egypt to Europe, allowing [Cairo] to take on a key role in energy security at a time of major turbulence in the energy market.”

Following the agreements with Egypt, Cyprus Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, Natasa Pilides and Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, and the Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, Kostas Skrekas signed an agreement, called the "Euro-Asia Interconnector" Project. This collaborative project between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel will result in the world’s longest and deepest underwater power cable crossing the Mediterranean that would link the electricity grids of the three countries.

What makes these three agreements groundbreaking is that they will create an Eastern Mediterranean energy corridor and, according to Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas, would improve the security of energy supply in the entire region. It would create a ‘win-win’ situation for all the countries involved by building political and economic bridges between the four eastern Mediterranean countries.

For Mitsotakis, being able to get electricity to Greece would bolster his green energy program. This has been a central feature of his political post-pandemic recovery plan. Already, Volkswagen has delivered electrical cars to the popular tourist island Astypalea to be used by the police, coast guard, and at the local airport. Should the electrical cars prove successful, over 1,500 more cars will be delivered to the island. Currently, there are 12 charging stations and there are plans for 16 more stations to be installed in the near future. VW Group CEO Herbert Diess sees Astypalea as “a blueprint for rapid transformation, fostered by the close collaboration of governments and businesses.”

With tourism as a growing sector in the Greek economy, finding new ways to reduce the need for fossil fuels while also reducing energy costs is truly a ‘win-win’ situation. The long-term implications of the agreements will pay dividends for the environment, economy, and for fostering stable political alliances.


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