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15 June, 2024
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Cyprus struggles with renewable energy and storage gap

Cyprus rejected 20% of annual solar energy production

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

Only 15% of Cyprus' total energy production comes from Renewable Energy Sources (RES), highlighting the country's significant lag in this sector. Furthermore, Cyprus faces a considerable deficit in storage infrastructure, leading to the wastage of renewable energy that cannot be consumed during periods of abundant sunshine or high winds. Startlingly, recent reports from officials in the Parliament indicate that around 20% of the energy produced annually by photovoltaics is rejected in Cyprus, with projections suggesting the rejection of approximately 30-40 thousand megawatt hours by year-end. Recognizing the indispensable role of energy storage in the RES system, Energy Minister George Papanastasiou commented that immediate action is necessary. The ministry intends to develop incentive plans in the coming months to attract investments in energy storage from RES. Speaking to K, Papanastasiou emphasized the grid's current inability to handle the volume of production from both RES and conventional generation, prompting the ministry to explore various options.

One such option being considered is ripple control, a measure announced during the last session of the Parliamentary Trade Committee. Although it sparked some concerns, the Minister assures that it is a protective measure for the network. The ripple control system would enable the Transmission System Operator to disconnect photovoltaic systems from the grid to ensure the system's smooth operation. Papanastasiou clarified that the ultimate goal is to avoid any interruption in renewable generation, but this necessitates the implementation of electricity storage solutions. Addressing the pressing need for energy storage, the country aims to heal this critical issue by attracting private investments.

To incentivize new investments in RES, the ministry is actively working on plans that would benefit individuals and non-household entities, combining RES and energy efficiency (EE) generation projects. The proposed plans also include the establishment of a centralized electricity storage system on the grid. Currently in the preparation and internal consultation phase, the plans require approval from the European Commission's Competition Directorate. While the initial budget for the projects exceeds €40 million, the final amount will be determined after consultations with the Directorate General for Development. The ministry's objective is to complete the projects within 2023. If private interest proves insufficient, the ministry will proceed with involving the Transmission System Operator in the storage solutions. Emphasizing the urgency, the ministry aims to commence project implementation as soon as possible.

The ministry intends to develop incentive plans in the coming months to attract investments in energy storage from RES.

Notably, initial signs of investment interest have emerged. Two Environmental Impact Assessment Studies have been submitted to the Environment Department, focusing on the construction and operation of photovoltaic parks with energy storage. The first study concerns the Akaki region (between Akaki and Kokkinotrimithia) and estimates the project's implementation cost at €77,150,000. The funding will be provided by "AGM Solar Power Limited" and "AGM Lightpower Limited." The project's completion can occur in phases, contingent on licensing timelines, with a target finish date of 2028. An integral aspect of this project is the inclusion of energy storage. The proposed installation includes 41 Energy Storage Units (LUNA2000 model - 2.0MWH-1H0/2H0), resulting in a total storage capacity of 82MWh. Additionally, a second project proposal awaits assessment by the Environment Department. This initiative involves the installation and operation of an energy production unit utilizing photovoltaic systems in Alektoras, Limassol district, by L.E. EVERGREEN ENERGY LIMITED. For energy storage, the project intends to install 17 Energy Storage Modules (ESM Energy Storage modules - ABB model), providing a total capacity of 32MWh. The estimated cost of implementing this project is EUR 32 million.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  energy  |  gap

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