Discussions begin on solar power plant in buffer zone

The results of a pre-feasibility study concerning the possible establishment of a bi-communal solar power plant in Cyprus, were discussed by the Director-General for Structural Reform Support at the European Commission, Mario Nava, and representatives of the two communities, which are now expected to begin working towards an agreement for the project to move forward.

The pre-feasibility study envisages a solar power plant of 36MW capacity located in the buffer zone, using photovoltaics and batteries with a storage capacity of three hours.

According to a press release by the European Commission, the independent scientific assessment of available options paves the way for the two communities to find agreement on key aspects of the solar power plant project, including its exact location, the proposed technological and technical solutions, the financing of the investment, and the electricity sharing modalities.

Once there is agreement on the way forward, the Commission stands ready to support the next steps, and assist with preparing and launching an international tender for the design and construction of the solar power plant.

“This project has great potential”, Nava said in a written statement. “It can bring the two communities closer together, foster more cooperation on energy, and help achieve the EU’s Green Deal goals”.

The project, he added, “comes at a time when a new UN envoy is looking for common ground between the two communities”.

“I therefore encourage the communities to agree on all the details as soon as possible so that the project can move to the next phase,” he added.

The introduction of the storage facility is considered an innovation in Cyprus, which would help extend solar power use beyond the time the sun shines.

The European Commission also notes that, if agreed by the two communities, this project will be a major confidence-building measure, increasing bi-communal cooperation on energy and supporting the greening of both electricity systems.

The project can also serve as a model for further investments in solar energy projects in Cyprus and mark a first step in improving Cyprus's energy supply and storage.

The pre-feasibility study was funded by the European Commission under the EU aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community and carried out in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme. The EU Aid Programme aims to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community, with particular emphasis on the economic integration of the island, improving contacts between the two communities and with the EU, and the preparation for the EU body of laws following a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.

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