Cyprus Issue Will Hinder Undersea Power Cable Project

North Cyprus News - Undersea electric cable

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

The subject of supplying North Cyprus with electricity via an undersea cable was mentioned again by Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and his deputy, Cevdet Yılmaz when they recently visited the TRNC, Yeniduzen reports. 

It has been projected that an interconnector, a system permitting two-way transmission of electricity, would be installed. However, the finer details of what was described as the “second project of the century”, have not been made public, and will also run into serious political difficulties.

The UBP – YDP – DP coalition government, which made supporting statements regarding the project, also said that the problems of power supply and power cuts would disappear, but did not explain how the connection would be made.

European Network of Electricity Transmission System Operators

The European Network of Electricity Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E), of which Turkey is an observer member, but has no vote, is the ultimate arbiter regarding the connection of a third state to the main grid of more than 30 countries.

On the official website of TEIAS, which connects Turkey to ENTSO-E, it states that all interconnected transactions made by Turkey are subject to the permission of ENTSO-E.

However, it states that ENTSO-E will not grant a permit to directly connect the northern part of Cyprus to the grid. And ENTSO-E has already started work within the scope of the “EuroAsia”* project to connect Israel and Greece to the main grid with a cable that will pass through the south of Cyprus.

Regarding this problem, former Vice-Chairman of Kib-Tek’s Board of Directors, Yusuf Avcıoğlu who is an energy economist and electrical engineer, said that there are four different ways for an ENTSO-E member state to export or import electricity to a third country, three of these methods are Turkey’s south Cyprus connection. He said that ENTSO-E can only approve the “isolated area feeding” method. Meaning electricity can only be transmitted one way by the provider.

Explaining that Turkey had also applied this method for supplying electricity to the Afrin and Aleppo regions in Syria, Avcıoğlu stated that only electricity that was sold through a power plant set up separately from the main grid could be supplied with this method.

He emphasised that this method is not an interconnected system. Therefore, claims that the electricity produced by solar energy will be exported in the north of Cyprus will become impossible, and mutual exchange will not be possible. “In short, AKSA will establish a power plant in Anamur like the one in Kalecik. We will witness the transmission of electricity by cable in a more costly way”, Avcıoğlu said.

*In a separate article published in February 2022 by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) written by Emine Eminel Sülün, she writes, inter alia, the following:

While the EuroAsia and EuroAfrica Interconnector

projects would mean the end of the RoC’s isolation from

the European cooperation scheme of transmission system

operators (European Network of Transmission System

Operators — ENTSO-E), the same projects could easily

translate into further isolation of the Turkish Cypriot

Community from any European project of clean energy

transition and further electrification of important sectors.

For example, the ENTSO-E may not approve a grid

extending to a politically contested area; thus, were the

RoC to be connected to Europe via these projects, the

existing interconnector operation (between north and south Cyprus) could well be terminated”.

“….For Cyprus, a country

with considerable potential for renewable energy

production and high energy efficiency gains, this means

that the two sides must work together and jointly plan

their energy systems. Cyprus policy makers could organise

an enhanced dialogue across the UN-controlled buffer

zone aimed at drawing up a framework in which both

sides can cooperate on the issues of electrification of

transport, building, and industry”.

Minister of Economy and Energy Olgun Amcaoğlu

Meanwhile, Yeniduzen writes that Minister of Economy and Energy, Olgun Amcaoğlu, who recently made a statement about the contract with private Turkish energy company AKSA, said that the contract would be extended.

Amcaoğlu said, “There can be no question of energy supply security without an alternative,” and said that while the process regarding the electricity by cable project from Turkey continues, energy supply from AKSA will continue for the sake of energy supply security.

Amcaoğlu said, “The production balance between KIB-TEK and the private company (53%/47%) will be preserved”.

I was told there would be no problem with ENTSO-E”, he added.   

Minister Amcaoğlu, in his statement regarding ENTSO-E’s statements which say that it would not permit the interconnected system [between Turkey and North Cyprus], said that they discussed this issue with the Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Alparslan Bayraktar, and that he received the answer that “there will be no problem on this matter“.

Amcaoğlu also stated that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said “we have the responsibility”.

Yeniduzen, PRIO

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