AFP reports that Israel and Cyprus have signed an accord Sunday to lay an underwater electricity cable between the two countries. It’s the first stage in an effort to transfer power between mainland Europe and Israel.

The cable, to be complete by 2016, will stretch 178 miles, at a depth of 6,550 feet.

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Israel Electric Corporation CEO Yiftach Ron Tal declared at the signing that the “Euro-Asia Interconnect,” with the capacity to transfer 2,000 megawatt, will forever free Israel: “No more Israel as an economic island.”

Additional underwater cables will connect Cyprus and mainland Europe via Greece, who also signed the agreement. Israel’s Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said “Israel will be able to receive backup electricity from Cyprus and Europe, and in the future, we will be able to provide them with energy.”

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