Republic of Cyprus while being a Member of the European Union (EU) since 2004, was under the obligation to implement the EU-mandated plan for the increase of the total energy consumption drawn from the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) to 13% by the year 2020. This objective was achieved in 2018, by bringing energy consumption from RES sources to 13.8 %. One of the most significant factors, which contributed to this result is the beneficial geographical location of the island of Cyprus enjoying 326 days of sun during the year, as well as prompt and efficient actions of the Government in reaching the above objectives. The major activities in the sphere of RES in the Republic of Cyprus, concentrated in installation of Photovoltaic (PV) Systems for both commercial and consumer use, creation of storage facilities, and import of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).
Republic of Cyprus has initiated and promoted certain programmes for the installation of net-metering PV systems with capacity up to 10 kW for the eligible households, and Net Billing mainly PV and Biomass systems with capacity up to 10 MW for commercial and industrial use. In order to facilitate the above incentives a special fund was created originating from a special green tax levied on electrical bills. The result of the above programmes is evident in a significant growth of the RES market in Cyprus with a prime example being the investment by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) of 10.85 Million Euros in 5 solar parks across the country. Furthermore, as stated by the Minister of Trade Mrs. Natasa Pilidou, the liberalisation of the electricity market under the supervision of Cyprus Electricity Authority (CERA) and administration by the Cyprus Transmission System Operator (TSO) would be achieved in early 2022, allowing multiple companies to provide electricity supply to customers across the country. In its turn, liberalisation of the market would lower the cost of electrical supply for consumers, and create opportunities for business.
One of the most significant problems in effectively using the solar energy in Cyprus can be considered lack of sufficient storage facilities. However there are few notable examples. By the support of the EU Inter-reg Mediterranean research and Innovation programme, a first energy storage system was connected to a conventional distribution substation in Nicosia in 2018. The system was set into operation by the German electric utility company Autarsys with a capacity of 30kWh/50kWh using high voltage lithium-ion batteries. Another battery storage facility of 2.35 MWh is under development by the University of Cyprus (UCY) for its 10 MWh PV park in the UN buffer zone in Nicosia.
Finally, in an attempt to further contribute to the European objectives and limit its carbon emissions, apart from procuring RES, Republic of Cyprus has taken steps in limiting its heavy reliance on fossil fuels in electricity production such as heavy fuel oil and diesel, and shift towards import of LNG – cleanest of all fossil fuels. The Natural Gas Public Company (NGPC) has reached a landmark agreement with a Chinese-Led consortium for the construction of LNG import terminal at Vassilikos. The project, which is by 40% financed by the EU Union, would initially supply gas to the Vassilikos Power Station (VPS) and later to the Moni and Dhekelia power stations and independent power producers, with the finalisation of the works estimated in 2022.