Sunny Cyprus toils to boost green energy

solar panels
(Photo: Jordan News)
NICOSIA  — “We have 340 sunny days per year,” Georgia Mouskou said, as sunlight streamed through her windows. “But we’re still not betting on renewable energies in Cyprus.”اضافة اعلان

Faced with her skyrocketing electricity bill, Mouskou says she wants to “rent a plot” to install solar panels.

Like Mouskou, rising energy costs and environmental concerns have caused residents of the east Mediterranean island to see solar power as an obvious option.

In the past year, the number of solar panels increased by 16 percent, according to the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC).

But Cyprus is still struggling to increase its use of renewable power.
In 2019, just 13.8 percent of its energy came from solar and wind energy, well below the 19.7 percent European average, according to Eurostat figures.
Cyprus hopes to boost its share of renewable energy to 23 percent by 2030 as part of its National Energy and Climate Plan.

But a shift to green power faces many hurdles. 

“The problem is renewable energies are unpredictable,” said Markos Asprou, an electricity specialist at the University of Cyprus’ KIOS research center. “In case of shortfall, you need to be able to act.”

Cyprus, which lies some 800km from the Greek mainland, its nearest EU neighbor, does not have a nearby national power network that can at present bail them out in an emergency.

In 2011, the island’s main Vasilikos power plant on the island’s southern coast was damaged by a massive explosion on a nearby naval base.
For weeks, Cyprus suffered frequent power cuts.

Vasilikos, a 1,478MW oil-powered station using imported diesel and heavy fuel, covers nearly two-thirds of Cyprus’ needs, placing it among the worst EU nations for its use of fossil fuels in producing energy.

In the control room of the plant, codirector George Moniatis points to an empty column on his screen indicating the absence of wind energy.
“What do we do if there’s no wind?” he said. “It’s very difficult. We can only rely on ourselves.”

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