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The Ministry of Energy, Trade, and Industry have a vision, it also has a Long-Term Energy Strategy which, with steady steps, leads the country to a green economy.
Despite the contrary impression that the programmatic statements of the candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, Mr. Andreas Mavroyiannis, and of AKEL, which supports his candidacy, try to create in public opinion, Cyprus has not only managed to fulfill its energy goals for 2020, in energy conservation (EXE) and Renewable Energy Sources (RES), which were our country’s commitments to the European Union but also to overcome them.
– The mandatory target for cumulative end-use energy savings of 135% has been achieved.
– Also, the national indicative targets have been achieved in relation to primary energy consumption and final energy consumption in 2020, with achievement rates of 102% and 122% respectively.
– In the RES sector the overall 2020 target has been exceeded by approximately 4%, as the RES contribution to final energy consumption has reached 17% (from 13% which was the mandatory target).
The intensive efforts of the last two years have also begun to be reflected in the available data for 2021, according to which a significant increase in the contribution of RES to electricity generation is recorded, which is estimated, based on preliminary data, at 14.9% in 2021, compared to 2020 which was at 12.6%.
It is noteworthy that the electricity generation from photovoltaic systems in 2020 was 6.1%, while the corresponding one for 2021 amounted to 9.2%. It is also noted that until 2020 Cyprus was among the first five EU states with the highest penetration rates of solar systems (EU27 5.22%) and had the 2nd highest rate of production from solar energy.
The percentages achieved in 2020 are not at all negligible, especially considering how we managed to achieve our goals, despite the lack of electrical interconnection with other countries, the limited availability of land, the limited wind potential, the lack of water resources for producing hydroelectric power, and especially the high cost of photovoltaics which until 2014 – 2015 made the use of solar technology unprofitable.
The importance that the Government attaches to the green transition is also demonstrated by the fact that it is an important part of the Recovery and Resiliency Plan “Cyprus _ Tomorrow”, since more than 40% of the budgeted funds relate to the green transition of the economy. Especially for the promotion of Renewable Sources and Energy Saving, in addition to the use of national resources, we have also secured funding of €334 million from the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, the European Structural Funds, and the Just Transition Fund.
With regard to the issue of the holding of discount tenders for the production of electricity from RES, which Mr. Mavroyiannis mentions in his Inter-Governance Program and brings up AKEL at every opportunity, accusing the Government of allegedly being an oligarchy and serving interests, it was explained in detail many times to his official’s party that:
– Firstly, tenders from 2014 onwards are carried out on the basis of the EU State aid guidelines. In this case, the aid is granted as a markup, in addition to the market price at which the producers sell the electricity directly on the market. Since there is still no market price, i.e. a price that would arise under conditions of a competitive electricity market, any tender that would take place before the market is opened would be subject to EU rules on state guarantees.
– Secondly, as was also mentioned during the meeting between the Minister of Energy, Mrs. Natasas Pileidou, and representatives of AKEL on 15/3/2022, the implementation of discount tenders is being considered by the Ministry, so that when the Competitive Electricity Market operates we will be ready for them to take place in combination or even separately with tenders for large storage systems. Specifically, the Ministry is already moving forward with its plans to conduct competitive tenders for upstream and downstream electricity storage systems, which will operate within the competitive electricity market. With regard to the upstream systems, the relevant plan has been pre-notified to the DG Competition of the European Commission from October 2021, in order to receive the required approval. As for downstream storage systems,
– Third, extensive discussions are currently taking place at the European level on the appropriateness of the EU Electricity Market Target Model. This discussion has arisen in the light of very high natural gas prices which largely determine the price at which units are compensated for low operating cost electricity generation, such as RES. It is at least an oxymoron for the candidate President of AKEL to talk about the price of electricity, the compensation of RES producers, and the excess profits they make, when the final regulatory decision on the electricity market model in Cyprus was taken in May 2015, by the then President of of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA), Mr. G. Siamma, who is an Energy Advisor to Mr. Mavroyiannis.
– In relation to the market model, the YEEB has set up a technocratic group to discuss the electricity market model and any modifications it may need and has sent a relevant letter to CERA, in which its recommendations are recorded with a view to reducing electricity costs.
In relation to the Grant Plans for the energy upgrade of buildings, the candidate for President of the Republic of the 2nd largest party in Cyprus should know better than anyone that most of the measures he has included in his Governance Program have already been implemented or are being implemented from the Grant Schemes of the YEEB and the RES and EXE Fund.
The following examples are typically mentioned:
– Financing for the installation of photovoltaics up to 100% of the cost in the low-income strata. The YEEB for 2022 has not only proceeded with expanding the list of vulnerable groups entitled to increased sponsorship (from 50 thousand to 80 thousand households) but has almost sevenfold the relative budget of the Plan from €9 million which was in 2021 to €70 million for the two years 2022 – 2023. In addition, it has gone ahead with doubling the maximum amount of sponsorship to that vulnerable consumers are entitled to cover almost 100% of the cost of installing photovoltaic systems.
– “Save – Upgrade Homes” Subsidy Scheme, with increased subsidy rates for vulnerable consumers. Budget €70 million (€35 million in 2021 and €35 million in 2022).
– Sponsorship Scheme “Save – Upgrade in businesses and other organizations”. Budget €40 million.
– Universal installation of photovoltaic systems in residential units. The YEEB has been operating since 2013 a Grant Scheme for the installation of photovoltaic systems in houses. Based on the latest available data, almost 29 thousand photovoltaic net-metering systems are installed in residences, with a total power of 123 MW. Not an inconsiderable percentage of penetration in the total of installed RES, if one considers that their total installed power currently exceeds 20%, while the first homes are around 300 thousand.
– Funding for the installation of photovoltaics in all public buildings (hospitals, schools, government services, etc.). In relation to public schools, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the YEEB, has commissioned EAC to install photovoltaics in 405 school buildings, thus covering almost all of the public school buildings. Additionally, the YEEB has announced from March 2022, a “Grant Scheme to Encourage Energy Upgrades by Local Authorities and Wider Public Sector Entities”. Through the plan, incentives of a total amount of €9 million will be granted with the aim of encouraging the implementation of energy upgrading investments by Local Self-Governing Authorities and Legal Entities under Public Law.
In addition to the above-mentioned Plans, the YEEB, in the context of its Strategy for a rapid transition to green energy, which has been accelerated due to the energy crisis affecting the world, also provides support to citizens and businesses as compensation for energy price increases, has proceeded with the announcement of Grant Schemes which in total reach €200 million in the years 2021-2022. Among others, the following were announced:
- Sponsorship plan for the replacement of energy-consuming devices by vulnerable consumers, amounting to €5 million.
- Grant scheme for the installation of a photovoltaic system to charge an electric or hybrid vehicle. Budget €1.5 million.
- Grant scheme for the installation or replacement of solar hot water production systems in homes. Budget €900 thousand.
- Promotion of two Plans for storage systems, with the total fund expected to be allocated until 2029 exceeding €80 million. Our aim is to announce the first plan before the end of this year, immediately after its approval by the European Commission.
Important reforms are also being promoted, which create the conditions for an increase in RES in the country’s energy balance. Specifically, within 2023 the digitization project of the Business Facilitation Unit will be completed, which provides guidance and facilitation to investors wishing to operate in Cyprus in various sectors, including RES and energy storage projects, which will strengthen the effort to include more RES in the energy balance of the country.
The amendment of the Support Plan for the production of electricity from RES for self-consumers is also being promoted, which includes, among other things, the extension of virtual net billing for commercial/industrial consumers.
Mr. Mavroyiannis describes the management of the energy sector as “a complete failure”, when the Cyprus, Greece, and Israel EuroAsia Interconnector electrical interconnection project was promoted under this Government, securing €657 million from the European Mechanism “Connecting Europe” and €100 million .from the “Cyprus_Tomorrow” Recovery and Resilience Plan. A project of exceptional importance that will remove the energy isolation of our country by connecting it energetically with the rest of Europe.
It is, therefore, worth wondering who has seen the inaction of the Ministry of Energy, Trade, and Industry in energy matters.
On a geopolitical level, and in case it eludes the staff of Mr. Mavroyiannis, let us recall that an Interstate Agreement with Israel and Greece for the East Med Natural Gas Pipeline and an Interstate Agreement with Egypt for a direct natural gas pipeline from the “Aphrodite” field have been signed » at the Egyptian terminals.
With the legacy of the Government of Nikos Anastasiadis, Cypriot citizens know very well that Cyprus is advancing with rapid steps in the green economy and they have confidence that we are taking advantage of the favorable circumstances that have been created for the Cypriot EEZ, for the benefit of all Citizens.