On Monday, November 20th, the Belgian contractor Jan De Nul announced that it had signed a “milestone agreement” with the Egyptian government, represented by the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), to start the study for the construction of an undersea export cable between Egypt and Europe.
Compared to the greater part of Europe, conditions for generating solar energy are much better in Egypt. Along with other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, this region offers the world’s greatest potential for solar power.
The future interconnector would transport more than two gigawatts of solar and wind power from Egypt to Europe via an undersea power cable about 1.000 km long – the longest globally. The current most extended interconnector cable – the one between Denmark and Britain – measures 765 km. Water depths along the cable track run up to three kilometers to make it even more challenging.
Jan De Nul, however, is well-equipped for the job and has the necessary expertise to install ever-longer export cables in and on the seabed. The company recently ordered a new cable-laying vessel named Fleeming Jenkin.
This vessel will have a cable transportation capacity of 28.000 tons, twice that of any other cable-laying vessel currently available. The vessel is specially designed to install longer and heavier cables in ultra-deep waters of up to 3.000 meters.
Financial and technical study
Jan De Nul Group will now carry out a financial and technical study with the ultimate intention of participating in the development of the export project. The study covers project financing, the production of green power, the installation and production of transmission systems such as cables, and finding partners to connect to the existing grids in Europe.
This is not the only project to connect green energy produced in North Africa. Cable connections exist between Morocco and Spain, while others are planned between Tunisia, Italy, Morocco, and the UK. The start of the project is scheduled for 2027.