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12° Nicosia,
15 June, 2024
 
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Overcoming obstacles in Cyprus' green transition

Exploring Cyprus' untapped potential in renewable energy expansion

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

Undoubtedly, the fact that it no longer requires a building permit as a prerequisite for installing a photovoltaic system on residential roofs could be characterized as a positive development in our long-standing effort to turn towards green development. However, let us look at things from their proper perspective and see the forest and not just the tree, in this case. Because there are still many steps to be taken in the effort for the green transition, and the road ahead remains long. This is also emphasized by the Commission in its recommendations. Yes, measures have been taken, perhaps obligatorily, without any other choice within the framework of the Recovery and Resilience Plan. However, it is a fact that Cyprus's transition is slow, and its potential to expand the use of renewable energy sources largely remains untapped. This is self-evident, considering that we live in a country with one of the highest levels of sunshine, yet the share of renewables in the overall energy production only reaches 15%. Are these achievements to be satisfied with?

Indeed, plans were implemented, subsidies were provided, and there was an effort from the government's side, which was utilized by businesses and consumers to reduce the energy costs they have to bear. Installing photovoltaic systems is considered the ideal choice, especially if there is a relative financial capacity for their installation. But can the grid handle it? Can everyone install and use energy from photovoltaic systems? We recently saw that it's not the case, given the recommendation that followed to cease issuing new permits for photovoltaics.

A recommendation towards the right direction would be ways to upgrade the grid or solutions to address the storage gap of this energy. In the latest photovoltaic installation plan, we saw that the option of incorporating a storage system is provided, which will have the capability to absorb at least 75% of the expected annual production of the installed system. The most common storage system available is lithium-ion batteries, and the cost is calculated based on the storage capacity, amounting to approximately 1000 euros per kilowatt-hour. The number of applications will ultimately reveal how many consumers will be financially able to take advantage of it. It is, however, paradoxical to generate such energy and then lose it if it is not consumed in a timely manner. It is also paradoxical for a country with such abundant sunshine to lag behind in the production and use of renewable energy.

The most common storage system available is lithium-ion batteries, and the cost is calculated based on the storage capacity, amounting to approximately 1000 euros per kilowatt-hour.

Therefore, yes, reducing bureaucracy to promote the production and use of Renewable Energy Sources is definitely a positive development, and it is an indication that we are taking the issue somewhat more seriously, as we are starting to identify practical obstacles. However, major issues remain unresolved, such as the liberalization of the electricity market, and I don't know to what extent the mentality, bureaucratic indifference, and any underlying interests are responsible for this.

Another open wound is the dependence on conventional private vehicles, where we have the lowest market share of electric vehicles and the fewest charging points per vehicle in the EU.

It is clear, however, from the Commission's perspective. Both the existing and the additional measures planned by Cyprus are insufficient to achieve the target of reducing emissions by 32% compared to 2005 levels, while based on current practices, we can only achieve a 7% reduction.

Let's get serious, then.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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Cyprus  |  forest  |  energy  |  mountains

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