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Israel advances EastMed undersea electricity cable connecting with Europe

In Paris meetings with international bodies, Energy Minister Israel Katz is promoting Israel's plans for a subsea electricity cable that would connect to other countries in the region and Europe.
A man rows a stand-up paddle flying an Israeli flag near a sailing boat and a yacht in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Tel Aviv on April 26, 2023, as Israel marks Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut), 75 years since the establishment of the Jewish state. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

PARIS — Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz met in Paris with several European and OECD officials on Wednesday and Thursday in an effort to advance an undersea electric cable project to connect the Israeli grid with regional countries and Europe.

Since 2017, Israel has been promoting an undersea pipeline that would transport natural gas from Israel and Egypt to Cyprus and the south of Europe. The East Mediterranean Gas Forum is also working to promote this goal. And alongside regional cooperation on exporting natural gas, Israel is also advancing a new project aimed at guaranteeing Israel’s electricity independence, with the objective of exporting "green electricity" generated by solar field  to countries in the region and to Europe.

The idea is to build an electric cable under the sea along the Israeli Mediterranean coast, from Ashkelon in the south to Israel’s northern border. Once a cable is installed, it could link to various points outside the country, allowing Israel to receive electricity from Egypt in case of extreme power shortages, for instance, or vice versa. It would also open the possibility of exporting Israeli electricity to Jordan, the Gulf countries, Cyprus and Europe.

While in Paris, Katz met with International Energy Agency Director Fatih Birol to advance Israel’s candidacy for membership and with European leaders such as EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simons, officials at the French Energy Ministry and the chair of the French electricity company EDF Jean-Bernard Levy. The Israeli minister brought up his new cable initiative in his Paris meetings. He also toured the French connection point of the IFA2 subsea electrical interconnector, running beneath the English Channel between France and the United Kingdom. 

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