Cyprus doomed if it stays energy inefficient
It is no use talking isolation of Cyprus.
This cannot be done either through ambitious and strategically sensitive gas pipelines, or by way of electricity interconnectors to import (or someday export) cheap energy from clean sources, if there is no distinct national energy policy to take the island into the next decade and transform it into a ‘green destination’ for industry, business, shipping, farming and tourism.
The government and public utilities have fallen behind the EU requirements to convert 10% at first and ultimately 20% of our energy output to generation from renewable energy sources (RES).
Some 92% of national production is from convention power stations (ie. liquid fuel), with just over half of the remaining 8% produced from wind farms and a tad less from solar parks.
We have yet to decide on importing natural gas to drive the EAC’s power stations, which have, by the way, the provision to switch from diesel to LNG almost overnight.
The current installed capacity according to the Transmission System Operator is 1,105 megawatts (MW) of which some 75 to 80MW is from solar parks and 30-50MW from wind farms.
The only times output reaches the capacity peak is in the hot summer months of July and August, when air conditioners are at full blast
Imagine, then, if the opposite had been true, whereby we would have so many photovoltaic
energy installations throughout this all-sun island that 8090% of our electricity needs would be generated from solar, wind farms and recycled biofuels, slashing electricity bills by half, if not more, and contributing to a drastic improvement in productivity rates in all sectors of the economy.
Reading between the lines of last weekend’s sovereign upgrade by Standard and Poor’s, to a notch above ‘junk’, the ratings agency warned that Cyprus needs to resolve its over-reliance on the construction sector and tourism, while public sector debt (civil service payrolls and what little is spent on “development”) is approaching dangerous levels, suggesting that a negative outcome could result in a ratings downgrade yet again.
By improving energy efficiency by way of lowering the cost of electricity, a significant contributor to any small to medium-sized enterprise’s spending, productivity rates could improve to pre-crisis levels.
Fuel imports will remain where they are now, an increased burden on the fleets of small and large businesses alike, while cheap public transport will never become a reality unless our buses run on energy-efficient platforms, biofuels or even electricity.
Furthermore, the poor state of our road network and the absence of an efficient grid for bus systems make this mode of transport an unattractive option.
So, let’s invest in cheap energy generation, energysaving systems and improve productivity because this is much more important for the wellbeing of future generations than the haggling over state teachers’ work hours and their cry-baby tactics to get their way.