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Cyprus must act fast to meet Green Deal goals and reduce electricity prices

10/11/2021 16:16

Cyprus must act fast to develop projects that will help the country meet its goals arising from the EU Green Deal and reduce electricity prices at the same time, the country`s Energy Minister, Natasa Pilides, said addressing the Eastern Mediterranean Conference & Exhibition, a three-day event that started on Wednesday, in Nicosia.

Natasa Pilides said that despite the latest energy crisis, the EU must remain committed to Green Deal targets and take action so as not to jeopardize the transition.

“Of course we are very ambitious and very committed to the Green Deal, but we have to recognize that we all need to go through different steps to get to the stage where we are completely green” the Minister pointed out.

She mentioned the projects that Cyprus promotes in order to achieve that, starting with projects ending Cyprus’ Energy isolation as EuroAsia and EuroAfrica electricity Interconnectors, the LNG terminal at Vassilikos and EastMed pipeline. She also referred to measures aiming to promote renewable energy such as a one-stop center for the licensing of commercial RES, centralized and decentralized installation of energy storage systems, public charging points for electric vehicles and installation of smart meters. As she said all of these measures and projects must happen at a very fast pace in order for Cyprus to be able to meet its goals without jeopardizing energy security.
Referring to the energy crisis that led to sharp surge in energy prices, she stressed the need to take action so as not to jeopardize the transition. She added that’s very crucial to recognize that the measures that Cyprus has introduced for the reduction of electricity prices, are for a limited amount of time.
“What we need are long-term measures, like funding programs, that are going to enable people to introduce photovoltaic systems in their homes, in their business, to increase their energy efficiency with friendlier technology in order to be able to meet our targets but also reduce prices at the same time”, she said.
At the same time, she stressed the need for cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean to make the region a frontrunner in the transition towards greener energy and sustainable growth and pointed to the trilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms in which Cyprus participates. She added that natural gas plays a key role as a bridge fuel, allowing a swifter and more efficient shift to cleaner forms of energy.

Cyprus will hold the Presidency of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in 2022 and as the Minister said, it stands ready to also discuss and promote policies and actions, through the Forum for the region’s transition towards a greener energy.
Israel`s Minister of Energy Karine Elharrar, addressing the conference in a recorded video message talked about Israel’s interest in deepening regional cooperation in the field of natural gas energy. She also said that they are looking to deepening ties with their partners in the region in the field of renewable energy, as the region is becoming more and more interconnected and referred to the agreement between Cyprus, Greece and Israel for EuroAsia Interconnector, saying that this will provide an important step towards further energy security for all three countries, Europe and Asia. She also said that Israel will shift towards clean energy by 2030 and is aligning with other countries in the global fight against climate change.  
In another video message, Energy Minister of Jordan, Saleh Al-Kharabsheh, referred to the country’s strategy aiming to diversify energy sources, increasing the contribution of local energy sources to the total energy mix, increasing energy efficiency in all sectors and reducing energy cost, in order to make the country a regional hub for all types of energy. He also said that they will definitely focus in renewable energy in the coming years as clean and local energy source. He also referred to the need for the countries of the region to join forces to facilitate a just and fair transition towards circular, inclusive and sustainable energy resources.

In her presentation during the Conference, President of Cyprus Hydrocarbon Company, Toula Onoufriou, said that the demand for natural gas is expected to remain strong for the next fifteen years, as natural gas was part of the solution in the roadmap for net zero.
She said that Cyprus has some discoveries and that there is potential for more discoveries.

“We see it as our duty to promote and exploit this kind of development to contribute to these energy transition for Cyprus, Europe and beyond”, she said.

She also referred to exploration, appraisal and exploitation activities restarting in Cyprus by the end of the year or early in 2022, pointing out the challenge of developing stand-alone deep-water gas fields and referring to the need to leverage synergies, economies of scale, regional collaboration and new technologies to reduce costs. She also said that Cyprus needed to plan of Co2 reductions to make gas development more sustainable.