Electricity prices in Cyprus recorded a significant increase of 38% year over year in August 2021, with the international increase from the historically low prices of 2020, to be only one of the reasons that are pushing up the cost for consumers.
The upward trend in prices has started since last March, as Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) Spokeswoman Christina Papadopoulou told CNA, with the annual increase in the price paid by the consumer in August 2021 to be approximately 38% higher than in the same month of 2020. However, this cost was also affected by the abolition of the 10% discount on the EAC accounts due to a pandemic that lasted from April to September 2020, but also due the large increase in the cost of purchasing greenhouse gas emission allowances.
And while the cost of oil prices remains largely unknown even in the near future, the arrival of natural gas and especially the increase in the contribution of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) to electricity production is considered as the only way to reduce and stabilise prices in the long term.
As Papadopoulou said, in August, there was a slight decrease of 1% in the price of electricity compared to the previous month, since in recent weeks the price of oil seems to be declining. She also noted that last year on July 1, fuel oil price was at $ 255 per tonne while on the same date this year the price was at $ 472 per tonne.
“Oil prices were at historically low levels last year. Our prices now are at the same levels as in 2018 and 2019,” she said.
Clean energy significant to future low prices
However, the situation would be better if there was greater penetration of RES. EAC is moving forward with large RES projects, as Papadopoulou said. She noted that soon the Authority will begin the construction of a large photovoltaic park in Akrotiri, which will offer 12 MW of clean energy in about two years, while a process is also underway for the licensing of large photovoltaic parks in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Cyprus in Achera area.
This cooperation is expected to add 66 MW to the energy mix. The EAC has also already upgraded its infrastructure and is ready for the arrival of natural gas in Cyprus expected in 2023.
These projects will contribute, as the Spokeswoman said, to the stabilisation of the prices at low levels.
At the same time, she noted the large increase in market prices in the cost of purchasing greenhouse gas emission allowances. From 2020 onwards the European Commission removed free emissions allowances for member states, while the prices increased sharply during the past few years. As Papadopoulou said in 2017 the price of an allowance was 6 euros and in 2020 was as high as 25 euros.
“These emissions,” she said, “will be reduced by about 25% with the arrival and use of natural gas and the further use of RES.”
President of the Pancyprian Consumers Association Marios Drousiotis has criticised competent authorities for the delay observed for years in the development of RES in Cyprus.
As a result, he said, Cyprus is being forced to buy greenhouse gas emission rights, whose prices have risen sharply, because it has not reached its RES targets. He added that having made a comparison of the prices of July 2020 with July 2021 there is around 200% increase in the charge to consumers due to these greenhouse emissions allowances.