Sunny but isolated, Cyprus toils to boost green energy

NICOSIA, Cyprus: “We have 340 sunny days per year,” Georgia Mouskou said, as sunlight streamed through her windows. “But we’re still not betting on renewable energies in Cyprus.”

Faced with her skyrocketing electricity bill, Mouskou says she wants to “rent a plot” to install solar panels.

Like Mouskou, rising energy costs and environmental concerns have caused residents of the east Mediterranean island to see solar power as an obvious option.

In the past year, the number of solar panels increased by 16 per cent, according to the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC).

But Cyprus is still struggling to increase its use of renewable power.

In 2019, just 13.8 per cent of its energy came from solar and wind energy, well below the 19.7 per cent European average, according to Eurostat figures.

Cyprus hopes to boost its share of renewable energy to 23 per cent by 2030 as part of its National Energy and Climate Plan.

HEAVY POLLUTER

But a shift to green power faces many hurdles.

“The problem is renewable energies are unpredictable,” said Markos Asprou, an electricity specialist at the University of Cyprus’ KIOS research centre. “In case of shortfall, you need to be able to act.”

Cyprus, which lies about 800km from the Greek mainland, its nearest EU neighbour, does not have a nearby national power network that can at present bail them out in an emergency.

In 2011, the island’s main Vasilikos power plant on the island’s southern coast was damaged by a massive explosion on a nearby naval base.

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