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EU Commission approves first ‘energy corridor’ between Italy, Africa

A project to construct a new submarine power line that will transport clean energy from Tunisia to Italy was given the green light by the European Commission.

This was a “decisive” step towards making southern Italy an “energy hub” in Europe, which will “strengthen the continent’s energy security,” said the Environment and Energy Security Ministry.

After the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the energy crisis is the most urgent challenge for the EU, which is working on shared solutions for a viable alternative to Russian gas.

The Mediterranean energy hub, promoted by the Italian government, would guarantee Europe a clean flow of energy, mainly solar, of 600 MW direct current.

The submarine power line will be built by Terna Spa and STEG Tunisie and will run from the Cape Bon peninsula in Tunisia to the Partanna electricity station in the province of Trapani, Sicily.

An electricity station already exists in Partanna, but a new one will be built to convert from direct current to alternating current. Terna assures that the new station will be built “with architecture and colours in harmony with the landscape and surrounded by a natural barrier of trees.”

After the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the energy crisis is the most urgent challenge for the EU, which is working on shared solutions for a viable alternative to Russian gas.

“Attention to the territory and the environment is a firm point for Terna, and this project also combines technical solutions with the lowest possible impact”, the Italian company says.

‘Tunita’, the power line that will bring energy from Tunisia to Italy, has been included in the list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) and will be worth €850 million, of which €307 million will be co-financed by the Commission through the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ (CEF), the EU fund earmarked for the development of projects to upgrade the EU’s energy infrastructure.

“The underwater energy bridge (…) more than 200 kilometres long will be able to contribute significantly to energy independence, the security of the electricity system and the development of renewable energy sources”, said Terna CEO and Managing Director Stefano Donnarumma.

This is the first time that CEF funds have been used for an intercontinental infrastructure, which energetically links an EU country with a non-EU one.

It is “an opportunity for Italy to concretely become the energy hub of the Mediterranean,” added Donnarumma.

“It is a great Italian success,” said Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. “It is in Italy’s destiny to become a new energy hub for the entire European continent, it is in our mission to intensify cooperation with Africa to bring investment and development,” she added.