The Plenary Session of the Parliament unanimously voted for the budget of the Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Saving Fund (RES and EXE) for 2021. 41 deputies voted in favor. The debate, however, also contained several criticisms from MPs for not meeting the targets, while there was also talk of scandals.
The budget provides for total expenditure of € 48,661,901 and total revenue of € 22,692,662.
According to the report of the competent Parliamentary Committee that accompanies the budget, the fund is the main financial tool of the Republic for the promotion of RES and EXE in order to achieve its binding objectives, as defined in the relevant European Directives. According to recent data from the European Union, the Republic, although it has met the mandatory target of 20% of total energy consumption coming from RES, has not yet managed, like most Member States, to meet the the 10% target for RES utilization in the transport sector as well.
Most of the revenue of the fund financed by the above mentioned sponsorship schemes comes from the imposition of the consumption tax, which is regulated in relevant regulations and is estimated at 0.5 euro cents per kilowatt hour on the electricity bill recorded in the relevant bill or bill, issued by the electricity supplier.
Speaking during the plenary debate, the President of the Ecologists 'Movement, Citizens' Cooperation, Charalambos Theopemptou, stated that the energy service had to upgrade 3% of public buildings every year, which it did not do. At the same time, he said that the LPG was not promoted properly, nor the photovoltaics on the roofs of the houses, while the big photovoltaic works were given to “acquaintances and friends”. He also said that there were problems with applications for thermal insulation. He also said that Cyprus was left behind in the use of RES in transport and the cost will be paid dearly by the citizens, since the prices of pollutants have reached the heights.
EDEK MP Elias Myrianthous said that Cyprus is far behind in the goals it should have achieved and that the government buildings themselves have not installed charging points for electric cars.
AKEL MP Costas Costa stated that while in November 2019 the Energy Committee considered it unthinkable that the Minister could increase the RES fee whenever he wants and they modified this provision, the Ministry of Energy had included these articles in the 2021 budget and the Minister of Energy had to intervene. He also said that they will start in the middle of 2021 in the Energy Committee the discussion together with the Ministry of the Government's new proposal for the RES end. He added that it was worrying that the Minister of Energy stated that in 2022 the Fund's reserve would be depleted with the current fee of 0.50 cents per kilowatt hour. The Government appealed to find the methodology for calculating the RES fee that will ensure the viability of the fund without burdening the consumer.
He also said that the target for 10% RES in transport by 2020 has not been achieved and huge fines will be imposed in Cyprus. He added that the purchase of biofuels to achieve this goal has greatly increased the cost of fuel. He also stated that a comprehensive planning for RES is required from the Government, something that does not exist, as a result of which the citizens pay for the sloppiness and incompetence.
ELAM MP Linos Papagiannis referred to press reports about scandals with RES, which, as he said, have been left without any investigation.
The President of EDEK, Marinos Sizopoulos, stated that the non-coverage of the targets set for RES by the EU imposes a heavy fine on the Republic. He also mentioned that EDEK has submitted a series of completed proposals for several years without having the appropriate response, such as a special program for the development of public buildings with specific energy standards that would help meet the targets and save rents from unsuitable buildings. He also said that from 2018 they were asking for photovoltaics for residents of mountainous areas and the Government only this year included this proposal. And while, as he said, the amount will be covered by European programs, the majority of the deputies has committed this specific item from the budget. He demanded that the Government take appropriate action to release him.
He also referred to the proposal of EDEK for the development of photovoltaic systems for free street lighting and pumping stations in the communities.
DIKO MP Zacharias Koulias said that what is happening in Cyprus is outrageous with a huge responsibility of the Government and as a result the Republic of Cyprus has paid over 206 million euros in pollutants in the last six years. He added that the money for RES was “thrown to the wind turbines”, while Cyprus did not take advantage of the abundant sun it has in houses and public buildings. He also referred to the “oil import cartel”.
DISY MP Andreas Kyprianou said that the impression that Cyprus has not achieved its goals in relation to RES is wrong. Cyprus, he added, has exceeded all its strategic goals for 2020. What was not covered, he said, as it was not covered by other 23 member states is 10% which is the goal of transport, since Cyprus does not have public transport, after a failed attempt by the previous government. She also expressed confidence that the EU would review the fine it intends to impose on European countries, as many of them have not met the target.
Regarding the RES fee, he said that it is maintained at 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour, even though the budget was in deficit. He added that for the first time a Minister of Commerce is coming to the Parliament to start a discussion with the Commission in order to find the formula for determining the RES fee.
At the same time, he spoke about huge green interests and said that the Cypriot nature should not be destroyed in order to create large photovoltaic parks.
At the same time, the Plenary voted unanimously with 47 votes in favor or against the budget of the Cyprus Transmission System Operator.
The budget of the TSO for the year 2021, as it was originally submitted, foresees total expenses of € 6,641,000 and total revenues of € 4,165,400.
Philenews / ΚΥΠΕ