Interconnector From Turkey a No Go: EL-SEN

North Cyprus News - Undersea electric cable

EL-SEN claims that the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has not approved the “bringing electricity from Turkey to the north of Cyprus via cable” and has communicated its decision to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey in February, Yeniduzen reports.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) is the ultimate arbiter regarding the connection of a third state to the main grid, which is connected to more than 30 countries. Turkey participates in ENTSO-E as an ‘observer member’.

Yeniduzen contacted Economy and Energy Minister Olgun Amcaoğlu who said that no official information had been received by the ministry regarding the matter regarding the claim raised by the President of the Electricity Authority Workers Union (EL-SEN) Ahmet Tuğcu.

North Cyprus has been plagued for years with power cuts owing to ageing machinery, electricity grid and contaminated fuel.

Contract Signed With AKSA

Within the scope of the contract signed by stealth between Turkish energy company AKSA and the government last year, the company is required to prepare a feasibility report on “electricity via cable” by summer and submit it to KIB-TEK, and take steps within five years. Otherwise, the contract can be unilaterally terminated.

AKSA Cyprus Plant Manager Şener Şentürk stated that feasibility studies for electricity via cable are ongoing but did not provide details. Şentürk used the expression, “We are providing the necessary information to the relevant authorities.

Ahmet Tuğcu, President of the Cyprus Turkish Electricity Workers’ Union (EL-SEN), stated that ENTSO-E had informed the Turkish Ministry of Energy that it did not approve the transmission of electricity via cable to the north of Cyprus. He said, “Let everyone abandon the dream of electricity via cable. They do not have the power to make this investment because ENTSO-E has clearly informed the relevant ministry in Ankara that it will not allow interconnection”.

Highlighting the need for investment in the connection point, Tuğcu noted that $70 million alone is required for the KIB-TEK network.

No Official Statement From Turkey

Economy and Energy Minister Olgun Amcaoğlu stated that no official information has been received by the ministry regarding ENTSO-E’s refusal to approve the transmission of electricity via cable to the north of Cyprus. He said feasibility studies are ongoing and added, “After the feasibility report in line with the signed international agreement and the Kalecik 3 contract, officials from both countries will decide what to do.”

Calling it an essential project for the country, Amcaoğlu said, “The 75 million cubic metres of water [provided by Turkey via undersea pipeline] prevented the country from struggling with drought. In a country that has seen the sun for 333 days, this advantage needs to be utilised for this project to be realised“.

Cyprus Issue Complicates Matters

Energy Economist and Electrical Engineer, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of KIB-TEK Yusuf Avcıoğlu said “If ENTSO-E has done such a thing, it is not surprising for me.” Avcıoğlu emphasised that Turkey has observer member status in ENTSO-E and according to their agreement, approval and permission from ENTSO-E are required for electricity connections to a third country.

Avcıoğlu said, “It is not surprising that ENTSO-E does not allow this. Ultimately, there is currently no agreement between the south and the north. It is about a union where Turkey is an observer member and we are not. Naturally, as much progress as the Cyprus issue has made in the past 50 years, it is not surprising to me that this issue has also progressed as much.”

It was hoped that Turkey could provided an interconnector enabling continuous power supply for North Cyprus. This would also mean that North Cyprus could sell back its own electricity from solar energy.

European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E)

In 2009, the European Union countries established the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) with the aim of increasing energy supply security, maximising the efficiency of electricity generation, transmission, and distribution, and minimising environmental issues by creating a common internal electricity market model through network integration.

The network currently has 35 full members and two observer members. Among the member countries are the Republic of Cyprus and Greece.

The “observer” members include the Republic of Turkey and Ukraine. Turkey became an “observer member” of ENTSO-E in 2016 to be able to sell and purchase electrical energy to and from different countries.

Following the suspension and non-renewal of Turkey’s observer membership until the end of 2022, a decision was made in recent months, along with Ukraine, to renew its “observer member” status until 2025.

“Back-to-Back, DC connection, unit direction and isolated zone feeding method are the methods used in energy exchange between a country that starts parallel operation with the ENTSO-E system and third countries. Energy exchanges made with these methods are subject to the approval of ENTSO-E.”

Therefore, for Turkey to establish a bi-directional interconnection system with both purchase and sale purposes to North Cyprus, it needs approval from ENTSO-E.

Yeniduzen

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