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Minister of Energy: “Electricity is very expensive in Cyprus, consumers are on their knees”

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Electricity is very expensive in Cyprus and cannot support the development of the economy, said the Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry, Giorgos Papanastasiou at the 21st World Conference of Cypriot Diaspora, noting that it is 35 to 40 cents per kilowatt hour, while in the most expensive country in Europe is around 15 cents per kilowatt hour.

In the context of informing expatriates on the issue of hydrocarbons and energy policy, Mr. Papanastasiou also said that the energy sector in Cyprus is currently facing major challenges, the successful handling of which is largely a prerequisite for the sustainable development of the economy of, but also to strengthen the country's position in the new energy environment of Europe and the wider region.

He also referred to regional cooperation, the lack of infrastructure on the part of Cyprus regarding the development of natural gas and gave the Israel as an “example” for its way of acting in terms of managing its natural wealth.

The Minister mentioned, among other things, that electricity is “very expensive” in Cyprus, and noted that, at the moment, electricity in Cyprus is around 35 to 40 cents per kilowatt hour, while the most expensive country in Europe is around 15 cents . He added that Saudi Arabia, which produces a lot of green energy “from solar panels that filled the deserts,” he said, currently produces electricity at 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour. “Cyprus has a long way to go”, he said, also referring to strategies that are currently being prepared. Soon, he said, the implementation of projects to reduce the price of electricity will begin, “because our economy cannot afford 40 cents per kilowatt-hour, it is not competitive”, he said, adding that consumers “are on their knees” and that the world that afraid to open the electricity bills.

He said the Government was preparing plans for solar to help consumers but also for industrial consumers “until we can do something that is sustainable”. He noted that this will be achieved with our own natural gas for combustion, “to reduce the cost of electricity, the conventional and at the same time enhance it with photovoltaics and wind, and this must be done in a horizon of the next three years, at most four, otherwise the economy will not do well”.

In response to a question about Turkey's claims, the Minister stated that Turkey is trying in every way to prevent anything that makes Cyprus independent in terms of energy, noting that it has indicated areas around Cyprus which it claims belong to the pseudo-state and the continental shelf of Turkey , as if Cyprus does not exist as a state in the region.

He also noted that there is no region in the world where there is energy that does not have a problem except perhaps the North Sea. He said that this should be managed “in a smart way” so that Cyprus can enjoy something of its natural wealth.

In his speech, the Minister stated that the energy sector in Cyprus, especially in this difficult period, is “key to the competitiveness of the country”. “It is precisely for this reason that we have proceeded to redefine our energy strategy, aiming to ensure low-cost electricity and, at the same time, to strengthen the security of our energy supply,” he said.

He added that both European countries and Cyprus' neighbors in the Eastern Mediterranean region have the same goals, “a fact that constitutes, in our opinion, an operational environment that favors, among other things, the development of natural gas fields which were discovered in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)”.

The Minister informed the expatriates about the developments regarding the research program in the EEZ of Cyprus, and indicated that the next step for “Aphrodite” concerns the conclusion of a final Development and Production Plan for the deposit, based on the revised text that submitted by the consortium to his Ministry in June 2023.

In the remaining licensed blocks of the EEZ of Cyprus, he said, the licensees are proceeding with their research program, which is expected to culminate in the next 2-3 years with new exploratory drilling “which we hope will lead to new discoveries, increasing the energy potential of our country”.

Regarding the green transition, he said, among other things, that important measures and reforms have already been launched, with the national Recovery and Resilience Plan “Cyprus _ Tomorrow” providing that 41% of the total funds budgeted for the country will be used for green transition purposes.

He also said that the energy sector in Cyprus is currently faced with major challenges, “the successful handling of which is largely a prerequisite for the sustainable development of our economy, but also for the strengthening of our country's position in the new energy environment of Europe and the wider region”.

In this direction, he added, “we must work collectively to draw up and implement a long-term, integrated and sustainable energy strategy, on the basis of which we will accelerate the green transition of Cyprus, effectively addressing both the growing threat of climate change and the ongoing energy crisis”.

“Electricity in Cyprus is very expensive”

In his statements after the briefing, the Minister of Energy said that he had the opportunity to inform about some energy issues that concern Cyprus, and he also referred to the need for direct contact with the emigrants.

Answering a journalist's question, he said that, “it is a fact that electricity in Cyprus is very expensive”, and that efforts are being made to reduce the cost of electricity in various ways. The most viable, he said, is the import of natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for conventional power generation purposes, and as he said, the first import of PV will be through liquefied natural gas at the terminal being completed in Vasilikos by June. 2024.

He said that the next effort, which has been in development for a few years, will be completed with solar as well as wind power generation, “so that we can fix the grids and we will put electricity storage in different parts of the grid so that we can get that green electricity generation and put it in the mix of Cyprus' electricity generation, so that the whole ends up with a cheaper electricity”.

The most long-term, he also said, is the import of natural gas from fields in the area “if possible from the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus and in addition there should be an organization, let's say, around how we use electricity”. In general, he noted, to have a circular economy “to limit consumption which is also the direction that the EU is currently giving”.

“The bar is very high, green energy is our direction, we will have to go through the natural gas transition period to reach the destination of decarbonizing electricity production by 2050, which is the toughest target we have from the EU,” he said.

< p>He added that, “these are not easy goals” and that Cyprus is a small country, but efforts are being made to have natural gas interconnections with neighboring countries and at the same time to have an electrical interconnection with Greece, which means an interconnection with Europe.

Asked about his statement during his presentation that a small number of companies should not be licensed, the Minister said that what he was saying was that it would be “better” when blocks are awarded to some multinational companies, to limit the size of those blocks . “Of course it's easy to judge history, there may have been political reasons why this happened,” he noted.

“It is better to have many companies inside the exclusive economic zone. If the entire EEZ depends on one company, you understand that that company has limited funds and is not going to develop all the funds. But I cannot judge that, there must have been some specific political conditions for the reason why it happened”, he said.

When asked about his statements to expatriates that Israel is an example to follow, and if there is something newer, Mr. Papanastasiou said that Israel is a country in the eastern Mediterranean, which has some serious natural gas discoveries but at the same time there was also some infrastructure.

The discovery of natural gas and natural wealth in Israel's EEZ was a development parallel to the operation of infrastructure for the use of this natural wealth, he said. “This is exactly the example to be imitated”, he explained, so that alongside the discoveries of natural gas fields in Cyprus there should also be construction of infrastructure so that they can be exploited.

He referred to the two technical committees with Israel which are being developed, as he said, one for natural gas and hydrogen and the other for electrical interconnection of the two countries. There is also a third technical committee which is discussing with Egypt about electrical interconnection of the two countries, he said.

Source: 24h.com.cy

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