Addressing an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) workshop in Nicosia recently, Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said small islands like Cyprus can be early beneficiaries of renewable energy systems since the levelised cost of green technologies is already competitive with conventional energy generation.
“Manufacturing of solar water heaters in Cyprus actually began in the early sixties and the solar thermal industry today accommodates around 44 small and medium-sized companies,” noted the minister. “Currently, more than 93% of households and 52% of hotels are equipped with solar water heating systems and as a result, the island has approximately one square metre of installed solar collectors per capita, which is a world record according to the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation.”
The minister went on to describe the present status of renewable energy sources (RES) on the island as encouraging while confirming that huge advancements can be expected in the near future.
“Approximately 7.5% of our total electricity generation is derived from renewables as we have so far installed and connected to the national grid, 146.7MW of wind parks, 36.5MW of photovoltaic systems and 9.7MW of biomass utilisation units.
“In addition, we have licensed 81MW of photovoltaic systems, 28.3 MW of wind parks and 10MW of biomass systems, all of which are expected to be installed within the next two years.”
Lakkotrypis said that since last year the government has been implementing new innovative and ambitious schemes to encourage the use of photovoltaic systems via net-metering methods in households and for self-generation in enterprises, including hotels.
“The Government is offering grants covering 50% of the installation cost to low income consumers who decide to install photovoltaic systems on the roofs of their houses and the aim is to license an additional 175MW of photovoltaic systems by 2025,” said Lakkotrypis, explaining that the technical limitations to the national grid are currently the main obstacle in achieving the targets.
According to the minister, the government is also in the process of revising the National Action Plan in an effort to increase RES contribution to Cyprus’ final energy consumption and consequently achieve or even exceed the binding 2020 EU targets.
“These targets for Cyprus call for a 13% RES contribution to the gross final energy consumption and as such we are already well beyond our third indicative trajectory at 7.45% for the years 2015-2016.”
The European Commission’s climate and energy package is a set of binding legislation which aims to ensure Member States meet their ambitious climate and energy targets for 2020. The targets, known as the ‘20-20-20’ set three key objectives for 2020: A 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20% and a 20% improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency.