With a lengthy announcement, the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry responds to Candidate President Andreas Mavroyiannis, in relation to the Government’s Long-Term Energy Strategy, stating that it has a vision and that this strategy, with steady steps, leads the country to the green economy.
He notes that despite the impressions to the contrary “that the programmatic statements of the candidate for the Presidency of the Republic Andreas Mavroyiannis and AKEL which supports his candidacy are trying to create in public opinion”, Cyprus has managed not only 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.
According to the Ministry, the mandatory target for cumulative end-use energy savings of 135% and the national indicative targets in relation to primary energy consumption and final energy consumption in 2020 have been achieved, with achievement rates of 102% and 122% respectively.
Also, in the RES sector the overall 2020 target has been exceeded by around 4%, as the RES contribution to final energy consumption has reached 17% (from 13% which was the mandatory target).
According to the available data for 2021, there is a significant increase in the contribution of RES to electricity generation, which is estimated, based on preliminary data, at 14.9% in 2021, compared to 2020 which was at 12.6%, replies the Ministry.
The Ministry adds that electricity generation from photovoltaic systems in 2020 was 6.1%, while the corresponding figure for 2021 reached 9.2% and that Cyprus, until 2020, was placed among the first five EU states with the highest percentages penetration of solar systems (EU27 5.22%) and had the 2nd highest percentage of solar generation.
For 2020 it is reported that we have fulfilled 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 hydroelectric power production, and above all the high cost of photovoltaics which until 2014 – 2015 made the use of solar technology unprofitable.
It is also mentioned that in the “Cyprus _ tomorrow” Recovery and Resilience Plan, more than 40% of the budgeted funds are for the green transition of the economy and especially for the promotion of Renewable Sources and Energy Saving, in addition to the use of national resources, we have and secure funding of €334 million from the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, the European Structural Funds and the Just Transition Fund.
Regarding the concessional tenders for the production of electricity from RES and the criticisms of oligarchy and serving interests, the Ministry responds that the concessional tenders from 2014 onwards are carried out on the basis of the EU guidelines on state aid.
In this case, it is clarified, the aid is granted as a surcharge, in addition to the market price at which the producers sell the electricity directly on the market. It is further explained that 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.
It is also reported that in a meeting of the Minister with AKEL on 15/3/2022, it was explained that the holding of discount tenders is being examined by the Ministry, so that when the Competitive Electricity Market is operational we will be ready for them to be held in combination or separately with the 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,” it states.
For the upstream systems, the relevant plan has been pre-notified to the DG Competition of the European Commission from October 2021, to obtain the required approval and for the downstream storage systems, the Ministry is preparing a relevant plan for their promotion.
“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 the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA), Mr. G. Siamma, who is Mr. Mavroyiannis’ energy advisor”, reports the Ministry.
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.
Regarding the Grant Plans for the energy upgrade of buildings, “the President-elect 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 by the Sponsorship Plans of the YEEB and the RES and EXE Fund”.
The Ministry refers, in detail, to various examples of grants, among them, financing for the installation of photovoltaics up to 100% of the cost in the low income strata, Grant scheme “Save – Upgrade to Homes”, with increased grant rates for vulnerable consumers. Budget €70 million (€35 million in 2021 and €35 million in 2022), Sponsorship plan “Save – Upgrade to businesses and other agencies”. €40 million budget and 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.
For the transition to green energy, the Ministry refers to Grant plans that reach a total of €200 million in the years 2021-2022 and it is added that important reforms are being promoted, which create the conditions for an increase in RES in the country’s energy balance.
“Mr. Mavroyiannis characterizes the management of the energy sector as “a complete failure”, when the Cyprus, Greece and Israel EuroAsia Interconnector electric interconnection project was promoted under this Government, securing €657 million from the European Mechanism “Connecting Europe” and €100 million from the Recovery and Resilience Plan “Cyprus_Tomorrow”, reports the Ministry and wonders “where has it seen the inactivity”.
“We have managed in difficult times, due to the pandemic and natural gas prices, to license additional blocks in our EEZ, such as Blocks 6, 8, 10, 7 and very recently Block 5. While the same companies have withdrawn and lost exploration rights in other countries due to the financial crisis, in Cyprus they not only maintain research rights but expand their activities and proceed with investments related to seismic research and drilling worth more than €200 million”, it is added.
The Ministry also reminds 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 to Egypt’s terminals have been signed.
“With the legacy of the Government of Nikos Anastasiadis, Cypriot citizens know very well that Cyprus is making rapid strides 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”, concludes the Ministry.