Power transmission system operators of Greece and Saudi Arabia agreed to establish Saudi Greek Interconnection, a joint venture for linking their electricity systems. The two sides acknowledged the deal’s relevance in light of the recently announced plan for an economic corridor from India to Europe.
Greece aspires to become a globally significant renewable electricity production and transmission hub. And for gas and hydrogen. Right after news was floated of an initiative within the European Union to establish a green power corridor all the way to Poland, the government set up a joint venture for an interconnection with Saudi Arabia.
In addition, Energypress reported that Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO or, in Greek, Admie) is about to submit the Green Aegean proposal to the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).
The idea is to include the project for a power link between Greece and Germany into the European-wide organization’s ten-year plan. It would open the possibility to include Green Aegean in the EU’s list of projects of common and mutual interest (PCI-PMI). The initial capacity is planned at 3 GW while it should be eventually upgraded to as much as 9 GW.
Cooperation with Saudi Arabia in energy sector includes hydrogen
IPTO, which said the two initiatives are complementary, established a joint venture called Saudi Greek Interconnection with National Grid SA. It is the transmission operator of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Electricity Co.’s fully-owned subsidiary.
The Greek TSO’s Chief Executive Officer Manos Manousakis signed the deal in Athens with his counterpart from National Grid SA Abdullah Waleed Al-Saadi. The firm will be 50:50 owned. Bilateral talks were launched more than a year ago. At the same time, Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy Alexandra Sdoukou met with Assistant Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia Nasser Hadi Al-Qahtani.
The proposed India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) is envisaged to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative
The two officials highlighted hydrogen, renewables and electricity infrastructure as priority areas of Greek-Saudi cooperation in energy and acknowledged its relevance within the development of the India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC).
The initiative, backed by the United States, aims to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It was unveiled earlier this month at the G20 Summit in New Delhi.
Saudi Greek Interconnection, a so-called special purpose vehicle or SPV, will be tasked with preparing feasibility studies for the interconnection project. A memorandum of understanding between Saudi Arabia and Greece also covered the areas of energy efficiency, oil, gas, petrochemicals, circular economy and decarbonization.
Potential option to go through Israel
The government in Athens earlier also floated an initiative for a green electricity corridor to Austria through the Western Balkans. In addition, Greece is set to connect with Cyprus, Egypt and Israel via subsea cables and upgrade its interconnections with Italy and Turkey. The submarine links would also enable the transmission of renewable electricity from Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula to Europe.
The power interconnection with Saudi Arabia is planned to run through Egypt, but depending on the possible normalization in relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, a route through there and Jordan could open up.