Tunisia and Italy are uniting in a development and cooperation project: it is ELMED. The ambitious project was presented in Tunisia from April 22 to 24, 2024 during the congress Mitigation promoting the energy transition in the Mediterranean region And, in May we will see the first part of its implementation. The project is funded and developed by the EU with the aim of improve energy security and the transition to a low-carbon economy. The countries concerned are Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.

Fethi El Hanchi, Director General of the Tunisian National Agency for Energy Management, comments Eunews: “Tunisia, like all of North Africa, aims to implement concrete strategies in favor of renewable energies. An extraordinary opportunity for international collaboration and cooperation. Particularly with countries close to Tunisia which are connected both geographically and economically..

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Italy-Tunisia: the energy transition passes through Sicily

El Hanchi during an interview with Eunews he pretends: “Italy could play an important role in the international energy transition strategytaking into account both the trans-Mediterranean gas pipeline and the ELMED project under construction”. Tunisia's ambitious challenge even if the ideas are clear: The Tunisian government aims to reduce its carbon intensity by 45% by 2030 and has already joined the international “Zero Carbon” by 2050 initiative.

The history of the ELMED project began in 2017 and, in addition to North Africa, Italy was also the protagonist. It was a choice that involved mostly the Sicilian population. Indeed, before the start of authorizations, citizens of municipalities in the province of Trapani such as Campobello di Mazara, Castelvetrano and Partanna intervened in the process of developing and defining the project. The public consultation phase involved the Roman company TERNA, which deals with the energy transition, and its Tunisian namesake STEG.

ELMED project serving North Africa

In 2022, the Italian Ministry of the Environment included ELMED in the list of projects of common interest. The investment amounts to 850 million euros. According to official TERNA data, in August 2023, a financial aid pact – also defined Grant agreement – which kicks off funding of 307 million euros intended for cooperation between the two Mediterranean countries. For the first time, EU funds for projects to modernize community energy infrastructure have been used between a Member State and a third country.

In conclusion, the project will allow Italy, Tunisia and other North African countries to play a strategic role for the energy transition in the Euro-Mediterranean area. The supported plan will connect the two main electricity systems: those of Europe and North Africa. The infrastructure will extend between the Partanna power station in Sicily and the Mlaabi power station on the Tunisian Cap Bon peninsula for a duration of total length of approximately 220 kilometers, with a power of 600 megawatts and a maximum depth of around 800 meters. During these months we will witness the development of this important project, a symbol of growth for North Africa and Italy.

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