Work on the power supply from Turkey to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) via a subsea electricity cable is nearly complete, Turkish Cypriot Economy and Energy Minister Sunat Atun said.
"We anticipate that the project - planned to be commissioned by the end of this year - will be completed in approximately two to two-and-a-half years. When the project is finalized, electricity in the KKTC will be connected to the motherland," Atun said.
Atun told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they signed an energy cooperation agreement with Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak on Oct. 11, 2016 in order to receive undersea electricity being transferred from Turkey to the KKTC.
In addition to discussing the electricity needs of the people of the KKTC, he also noted that it is important for them to be able to provide electricity to the region, in line with their global vision. Atun said the joint energy working groups formed with Turkey in accordance with the agreement have gathered several times and that their studies are nearly completed.
He stressed that Ankara has embraced the project since the first day, adding that the electricity transfer to the island is one of the most valuable projects for both the Turkish Cypriot government and himself, having served as the Turkish Cypriot's economy and energy minister from 2009 to until present, with the exception of a brief period of time.
Recalling that a water project was realized among the water, electricity and natural resources projects for the KKTC, Atun said nearly 30 million cubic meters of water is moved from Turkey to Turkish Cyprus, stressing that this has given them great advantages in terms of pricing, sustainability and uninterrupted access to water. Atun also said that the construction of the distribution network infrastructure of agricultural areas undertaken by Turkey's Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry has begun, noting that they attach great importance to the electricity project.
"We are extremely committed to completing this, and we are really pleased to see the same determination from my counterpart and the Turkish government," Atun said.
Recalling that the Turkish Cyprus connected to Greek Cyprus in 2011 with high voltage electricity, Atun said that there are now 400 megawatts connected from Greek Cyprus at three points.
He said that integration with Turkey will contribute to supply security, meaning uninterrupted electricity in the KKTC. Adding that the electricity price risk brought about by fuel oil, on which the system is 100-percent dependent due to exchange rate movements, will be removed, Atun said that the Turkish Cypriots will have uninterrupted, cheap and sustainable electricity, adding that they will also evaluate their potential to transfer electricity to other countries from the KKTC. "At this point, the cable project will not only be between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus, but it will also meet all our needs while achieving global qualification by creating the necessary conditions to give this electricity to the countries of the region. This is a very valuable element for us," Atun said.
He pointed out that the annual electricity amount to be transported from Turkey to the TRNC with this project has also been calculated.
The majority of the 1.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWhs) of electricity consumed by Turkish Cypriots each year is still supplied from oil-powered plants.