EastMed pipeline is not a one-way street, said Cypriot Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Natasa Pilides replying to a question on the role of Cyprus in Europe’s energy supply and the possibility of the construction of EastMed pipeline that will connect gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe.
Speaking in a panel discussion on the sidelines of the exhibition “Save Energy”, organized by Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation, Pilides said that the goal was to make the best use of Cyprus’ deposits in the most economically feasible and efficient way, pointing out that a good solution for Cyprus deposits was the LNG facilities in Egypt, something which was currently under discussion for Cyprus’ gas deposit “Aphrodite”.
Regarding the dispute with Israeli companies over the development of “Aphrodite” deposit, Pilides said that she will meet with her Israeli counterpart on April 11 in Israel, where she will discuss with her and with the licensed companies the situation and possible options, without deviating from the convergences that have been achieved on the matter.
In her speech to the conference, Pilides stressed that Cyprus was more ready than ever to further increase the share of renewable resources in the energy balance.
Pilides said that the conditions are favorable now, since solar technology is much cheaper and more efficient, renewable energy storage technology has matured, the competitive electricity market will open next fall, while the Ministry has introduced a one stop center for licensing of renewable projects and has secured grants of €334 million for energy upgrading and renewable projects. She noted that while in 2021 the Ministry announced projects of € 40 million towards that direction, in 2022 the total amount to be announced will be more than double and will exceed € 90 million.
Referring to the challenges for the economy due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pilides assured that the Government is on alert, with measures it has already taken and others which plans in cooperation with its European partners, to deal with the consequences.
Speaking at the same panel, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Costas Kadis noted that the public opinion, must be aware that there will be socio-economic consequences of the transition to a greener and climate-neutral development model. This, as he said “will have great economic cost and it will mean a change in our mentality and in many of our habits and policies. ” He added, however, that this cost should be seen as a major investment for the present and future generations and noted that “we have in our hands the tools that will help us move forward with rapid steps towards the green transition”.
He also referred to the concerns regarding the competitiveness of EU products in relation to non-EU products, due to the cost of the transition. As he said, one of the approaches was to impose the same standards for the products that will be imported with the standards required in the production of European products. He also expressed the view that EU will provide the necessary tools to the Member States to cope with the competition.
In his presentation at the conference, the President of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) Andreas Poulikkas referred to the challenges that Cyprus faces as small and isolated energy system.
Referring to the solutions, he said that these include increasing the flexibility of the electricity system by integrating renewables in the electricity market, generating electricity from technologies that use natural gas, installing storage systems, promoting electricity interconnections with Europe’s internal electricity market and the transition to the hydrogen economy.
He also expressed the view that Cyprus could set ambitious targets by 2060 to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 100%, given that there will be electrical connections up to 80% and use of renewable resources along with the use of storage systems and hydrogen.