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20 July, 2024
 
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Cyprus grapples with energy future amid interconnector debate

Stakeholders clash over consumer costs and project viability

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The Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) has summoned ADMIE, the country's electricity grid operator, for a crucial meeting on July 15 to discuss new data that could potentially alter a decision barring charges to Cypriot consumers ahead of the Great Sea Interconnector project's implementation. This announcement was made by CERA President Andreas Pullikkas during a parliamentary session today.

Energy Minister Giorgos Papanastasiou highlighted the government's efforts to obtain critical project details, including the Nexans contract, which has not been provided thus far. He underscored the significance of ADMIE's forthcoming cost-benefit study, due Thursday, stressing the need for expert evaluation to guide final investment decisions.

Papanastasiou assured parliamentary leaders of the ministry's respectful non-intervention stance towards CERA, emphasizing their focus on the Cyprus-Crete leg of the interconnector project amidst ongoing negotiations and contractual assessments.

Recent statements by Israeli officials expressing urgency for Cyprus connectivity due to regional energy security concerns were acknowledged by Papanastasiou, who reiterated the government's cautious approach pending comprehensive project reviews.

CERA President Pullikkas outlined the authority's decision (215/2024), which triggered ADMIE's appeal based on new evidence, prompting next week's meeting to reassess regulatory positions.

In response, Kyriakos Hatzigianni, head of the parliamentary committee, voiced skepticism over ADMIE's demands to pass project costs to consumers prematurely, citing potential risks and the lack of conclusive financial forecasts.

Georgios Petrou, President of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), echoed concerns over project timelines and financial transparency, affirming the EAC's commitment to thorough examination before endorsing any financial commitments.

Meanwhile, industry stakeholders like Akis Ellinas from the Cyprus Wind Energy Association expressed reservations about potential over-reliance on private entities for national energy security, cautioning against unforeseen economic repercussions.

Fanos Karantonis, representing the Electricity Market Association, cautiously supported the interconnector's principle benefits while endorsing CERA's cautious stance on consumer fees.

Marios Drousiotis of the Cyprus Consumers' Association adamantly opposed any immediate consumer burden prior to project completion, urging fiscal prudence and accountability in energy policy decisions.

The parliamentary debate is set to continue as stakeholders await ADMIE's critical cost-benefit study and subsequent regulatory deliberations, highlighting ongoing tensions over Cyprus' energy future.

The Ministry of Energy reiterated its commitment to evaluating all available data and expert opinions to safeguard the public interest and ensure responsible decision-making regarding Cyprus' energy infrastructure investments.

[With information from CNA]

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Cyprus  |  energy

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