Cyprus energy security at risk

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Under commitments made to the European Union, the Electricity Authority (EAC) may have to pull the plug on six steam turbines at its Dhekelia power plant, reducing its ability to meet demand.

As part of its drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Cyprus committed to taking offline six turbines, currently producing one-fourth of the island’s energy needs, 360 MW of total electricity production (1,478 MW).

Cyprus had been instructed by the EU to take the turbines offline before 2020 but was given a four-year grace period, during which they could only be used for 18,000 hours of operation.

According to Phileleftheros daily, the ceiling of 18,000 hours was reached at the end of 2021 due to high energy demand during the pandemic lockdowns.

The issue was recently discussed at the Presidential Palace at meetings called by President Nicos Anastasiades.

EAC said in an announcement: “The operation of the six Steam Power Units of the Dhekelia Power Plant is considered necessary for adequate production, safe operation and stability of the electricity grid”.

The authority refuted claims that it has not reduced its greenhouse emissions, evoking some Renewable Energy Sources projects.

Meanwhile, opposition parties have lashed out at the government, blaming it for delays in introducing natural gas to replace the more polluting mazut powered plants in Vassiliko.

Main opposition party AKEL slammed the government for not taking measures, despite knowing that Dhekelia needed to be decommissioned.

The party said the government’s reluctance to take timely action had meant more harm caused to the environment.

It argued the delay in bringing natural gas online entailed higher costs for consumers as the EAC had to pay fines for not introducing greener energy.

“The delays in implementing the country’s energy plans and the absence of long-term planning rests on the shoulders of the government, but unfortunately, the cost will once again fall on society,” AKEL said.

Social democrats EDEK said the issue highlights the failure to introduce RES in the island’s energy mix.