We need a multi-dimensional energy strategy, House President says
11:14 - 16 January 2024
President of the House of Representatives Annita Demetriou has said that a multi-dimensional strategy is needed in the major issues of the energy sector.
Demetriou was addressing a 15 January round table event organised by the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development on "European and National Strategies for Energy and Fuels 2030-2050" in Nicosia.
The panel discussion was attended by Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry George Papanastasiou, Minister for Transport, Communications and Works Alexis Vafeades, former Energy Director of the European Commission Kyriakos Maniatis, Chairman of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) Andreas Poullikkas and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Electricity Authority Cyprus (EAC) Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou. The event was also addressed by Maria Zachariou Dodou, Chairperson of the Board of the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development.
Speaking at the event, the President of the House of Representatives recalled that under the Democratic Rally government, 40% of the funds for the national Recovery and Resilience Plan "Cyprus - Tomorrow", were intended for the transition of the country to the green and circular economy. The reforms, she continued, which have either already been implemented or are being implemented, concern the use of Renewable Energy Sources (RES), the promotion of energy efficiency, the liberalization of the electricity market, the facilitation of energy renovations in buildings and the acceleration of electric mobility.
She also said that the Plan also provides for investments related to the massive development of smart meters and energy storage infrastructures, while it also provides for the financing of 100 million euro for the strategically important project of the electrical interconnection of Cyprus, Israel and Greece "EuroAsia Interconnector", which has recently evolved into the “Great Sea Interconnector”.
She underlined that ensuring energy security and access to clean but also cheap energy is one of the biggest challenges of the EU, noting that after Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the strategic decision of the European Union to become independent of Russian gas and oil, this goal has become even more difficult. She also noted that this decision has significantly upgraded the role of the Southeast Mediterranean, since it is a reliable alternative source of energy for the European Union.
In his remarks, the Minister of Energy said that the cost of energy will only decrease if RES are added to the mix of conventional power generation, adding that "the way ahead is now green". He noted that the exploitation of natural gas will also contribute towards this goal.
The Minister said that it is expected that within 2024 there will be the first deliveries of liquefied natural gas, which will come through the terminal being built in Vassiliko in Limassol district. He also spoke about energy storage from renewable energy sources, saying that there is a solution for storage systems in chemical form (batteries).
Referring to the draft National Energy and Climate Plan, Papanastasiou said that expected total investments amount to 17.7 billion euro, until 2030, of which 15 billion euro will be given for transport, sustainable fuels, clean vehicles and storage systems.
Meanwhile, Minister Vafeades noted that according to the National Plan for energy and climate, 49% of pollutants are due to transport, noting that ways should be found to reduce it by approximately one third. He referred to the need for a change in the daily habits of citizens using public transport and bicycles.
"The goal is to convince citizens to change the means by which they move," he said and refereed to the "Park & Ride" service, to reduce traffic congestion. He said that new routes will be announced soon.
In his intervention, Maniatis made a more detailed in technical terms presentation and referred to European transport legislation analyzing the rates for carbon dioxide emissions due to transport. He referred extensively to the production of electric fuels and biofuels, saying that by 2030 it is expected that biofuels will be included in aviation.
Meanwhile, the President of CERA said that 648 megawatts of photovoltaic systems, 157 megawatts of wind systems and 13 megawatts of biomass are operating in Cyprus today.
He added that the total installed capacity in operation is 1488 megawatts from conventional technologies and 818 megawatts from RES. He also said that from 2005 to 2024 there was a rapid increase in RES, mainly photovoltaic systems, and pointed out that energy storage systems are now needed, so that there is a sustainable future system.
The President of EAC said that the inclusion of RES in the EAC's energy production mix is a necessary condition in order to reduce Cyprus' dependence on conventional fuels on the one hand and on the other hand to enable initially the stabilization and, subsequently, the gradual reduction of electricity prices.
She added that the organisation has a development plan for RES projects. Panayiotou referred to the actions of the EAC underlining that in order to expand the penetration of RES in the energy mix, there must be an immediate shift to modern storage technologies.
In her address, Zachariou Dodou said the transition to clean energy is now a one-way road, noting that the development of strategies is imperative.
"The goal of the European Union is climate neutrality," she said, and added that about two thirds of the energy should come from RES.