Editorial: Cyprus and climate change

Original article.

The ‘Nimby’ approach to climate change and the fact that the not-in-my-back-yard mentality continues to rule in Cypriot society, could not have been debunked at a better time, with the temperatures soaring to a record 44.6C on Sunday.

 The increasing rate of heat waves, evident in recent years, also proves that every little bit helps, when it comes to harnessing climate change and making the world a better place to live, for present and future generations.As the island’s political leadership remains in Crans Montana, trying to iron out crucial differences on securities and guarantees of a future federal state of Cyprus, no mention has been made about real issues, such as climate change. Instead, politicians have chosen to discuss, negotiate and orate about all other issues, as long as these can bring votes, either in elections or in a referendum.At the same time, the Republic of Cyprus is introducing three Under-Secretariats, as pledged by President Anastasiades some four and half years ago, which will deal with shipping, tourism and development.Parliament passed the bill for the first one last week and the other two are pending. But no-one bothered to look further to see where Cyprus shipping could find itself in a decade or so.Clearly, the maritime community is worried about climate change, perhaps more than any environmentalist on the island, as the Cyprus-flag fleet or the vessels managed by Cyprus continue to consume heavy fuel oil for their own engines, while the international trend is to abandon HFOs and turn to cleaner drivers, such as LNG, the type that these container vessels carry on behalf of their clients.One project being developed in Greece is also looking at using alternative sources of energy, even wind and electric power, in an effort to cut down on pollution of the sea and the air.Cyprus finds itself at an opportune moment, where it can embark with its new under-ministry of shipping, and at the same time, become a pioneer in the worldwide maritime world by offering incentives to shipowners to convert their vessels from HFOs to LNG or other sources.At this month’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting, IMO member states must build on the progress already made by supporting the HFO phase-out proposed by Canada, banning such vessels from Arctic waters.Perhaps, Cyprus should propose a similar phase-out for the Mediterranean. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Wind power is a shameful waste

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With new tax pact, India and Cyprus eye more bilateral investments

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New Delhi, April 27:  

India and Cyprus on Thursday expressed hope that after the removal of Cyprus as a notified jurisdictional area and the revised tax avoidance pact bilateral investments between the two countries will increase.

“These can give a completely new dynamic and strengthen the economic ties, particularly in the field of investments between the two countries,” said Nico’s Anastasiades, President of Cyprus at a bilateral business session.

To this effect, a number of bilateral agreements will be signed during his visit to New Delhi, he said.

Minister of State of Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal also expressed hope that Cyprus will not only increase foreign direct investments to India but also invest in manufacturing in the county.

For its part, he said that India can invest in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, wind energy and film production in Cyprus.

(This article was published on April 27, 2017)

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Cyprus conference focuses on future of energy and challenges ahead for the region

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Speakers at the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference, which concluded its work in Nicosia on Wednesday, focused on the future of the energy sector and the challenges ahead for the region.

We have heard a lot about hope and optimism CEO of E-C Natural Hydrocarbons Company Charles Ellinas said, warning that “we need to be realistic if we are going to arrive to pragmatic solutions.”

Ellinas expressed the point of view that there is a “gas glut in the global market” which will contnue, keeping prices low and that Cyprus and Israel need to find international buyers for their gas and export options are becoming a challenge.

He also referred to an announcement of the European Commission recently that Gazprom has adapted its contracts and approach to be more compatible with EU regulations. Gazprom, he said supplied about 34% of Europe`s needs for 2016 which is up by 12.5% on 2015 at a price of $4.7 per mmBTU. It also has spare capacity which can be sold profitably for as low as $3, he noted, estimating that Russia will remain the EU`s largest gas supplier for at least the next two decades.

“Nobody can compete with these prices,” he said.

He also estimated that in order to make export of natural gas from Israel and Cyprus commercially viable, prices must rse to over $8 /mmBTU. Aphrodite, he said, has not so far secured any export markets.

In the longer term, Ellinas continued, I am putting my hopes to ENI and Total, in block 11 for which there are high expectations. In such a scenario, an FLNG may become a serious option for gas exports more likely to Asian markets, he noted.

On his part Panayiotis Tilliros, Senior Economic Officer of the Cypriot Ministry of Finance, who presented as he said his personal analysis, said that natural gas is emerging as a dynamic energy commodity. He noted a reference by ENI`s Luca Bertelli at the conference yesterday of additional gas prospects between 100 – 300 tcf for the region.

At the same time he expressed the view that the European Union needs diversification and that the fifth energy corridor is the Eastern Mediterranean which would be a credible corridor of supply. According to Tilliros the southern gas corridor is a policy of the EU and he also added that the EU is a stakeholder.

Referring to the cost of the EastMed pipeline project he said that he has seen figures of as much as �15 billion adding that there are difficult technical challenges as well as geopolitical ones.

Gina Cohen, Gas Consultant for the Eastern Mediterranean, presented the various options Israel has for commercially developing its hydrocarbons reserves.

Referring to the possibility of building a pipeline from Israel to Turkey she said that the distance it should cover would be 600 km with a capacity of 9 – 10 bcm/per year. She expressed the view that legally speaking Cyprus has very little right to stop a pipeline from going through its EEZ. Politically, she added, I do not know. She suggested that these things could be overcome by involving a third party.

On the EastMed pipeline to Greece and then to Italy she said she does not believe that �5 billion is a credible amount. “I think they are wasting their taxpayers time and money,” she added.

Cohen sent a message to the countries in the region that natural gas could help cement regional ties.

Director of the Centre for Global Socio-Economic Change Guus Gerkhout said in his presentation that energy is key in raising prosperity in the world. If prosperity is going to increase automatically we will have a bigger energy market, he noted. For the energy industry, he added, “it is very important that they look at the prosperity of the earth.”

At the same time he called on oil & gas companies to transform themselves into energy companies that sell energy mixes.

“Not only oil & gas but the total mix, wind turbine, or solar panels, so that it is interesting for the shareholders to invest in,” he pointed out.

George Pantelides, Head of Consulting Services at Deloitte spoke of a dream “the government, the politicians and the media had that Cyprus might be an oil & gas heaven.”

There was a clear plan by the government that made the big players trust Cyprus and actions have been taken towards this direction, he added, pointing out that the local community has huge expectations.

He also spoke of the excellent business infrastructure and environment that Cyprus offers. Referring to the fact that so far no port has been designated for oil & gas activities he said he knows “it is a high priority of the government to have a designated industry port.”

He also pointed out that Cyprus has made it easier for big operators to bring specialised staff using a fast track process.

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Circular economy leads to reduction of waste resources, a conference in Cyprus underlines

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Circular economy is a viable and innovative model which leads to less resources waste and helps with the protection of the environment, a conference in Limassol has underlined.

The conference titled “Cyprus on the road of the Circular Economy strategy”, was organized by the European Parliament Information Office in Cyprus, the Cyprus University of Technology, the Office of the Environment Commissioner and the Cyprus News Agency as the media sponsor. The conference was held under the auspices of Limassol mayor Nicos Nicolaides.

Cypriot MEPs Eleni Theocharous and Takis Hadjigeorgiou addressed the conference and spoke of the EU policy which attaches great importance to the idea of circular economy. They also referred to the efforts underway for the implementation of the circular economy by the member states.

Theocharous said that the draft of the EU action plan includes measures covering the entire life cycle of products and will be put for vote in the European Parliament next month. She also spoke of the role of Cyprus, pointing out that we need to be very active in pushing for a European effort to modernize and transform the economy towards a more sustainable path.

According to the Cypriot MEP, this transition is particularly important from an economic and business point of view, as it will record significant profits and will enhance competitiveness. She also referred to the benefits for the environment, the energy savings, the creation of new jobs and social integration which is a key priority for EU and its policies for employment and growth, investment and industrial innovation.

According to Theocharous, the Commission’s proposals include revised legislation on waste and a comprehensive action plan aimed at increasing recycling, reducing landfill, the removal of market barriers in specific sectors or flows of materials such as plastics, food waste, raw materials, construction and demolition waste, biomass products and bio-based measures in areas such as innovation and investment .

MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou said that we behave like an occupying power on earth and this is proven by our set of powers, the political systems and our culture. He said that the space debris orbiting the earth are recorded to a 100 million objects, while the electronic waste will reach 50 million tons by the end of 2017.

Hadjigeorgiou said that globalization has brought negative traits and must be separated from the concept of universality which means common culture, common efforts for development of science, in relation to management of waste and circular economy development.

The Cypriot MEP referred to data from OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) according to which each citizen consumes each year an average of 800 pounds of food and beverages, 120 kg of packaging products and 20 kg of clothes and shoes, of which 80% end up in landfill sites, are destroyed, or converted into wastewater. In Cyprus every Cypriot produces nearly two pounds of garbage per day, placing our country among the top in terms of per capita garbage production in the EU.

The mayor of the Greek island of Tilos Maria Kamma Aliferi attended the conference along with scientist Efstathios Kontos, who spoke about the “miracle” of the island, which became known for its leadership and innovation in sustainable development. It is the only Greek island that has adopted a number of green policies and it has become a model of environmental issues management model in the EU.

The island has just 500 inhabitants who are often faced with long-term power outages. In the next few years the island will be the first example around the world of setting up the so called intelligent micro-networks for optimal exploitation of renewable energy sources. In the context of implementation of the European program TILOS, a hybrid production system and energy storage will be installed on the island consisting of small-scale wind turbine and medium-scale solar power plant, combined with battery packs.

Additionally, the appropriate intelligent micro-network will be created, which will allow the coordinated operation of the system to achieve maximum energy autonomy and normalization between variable electricity production from renewable sources and the actual demand for electricity of the residents.

Cyprus University of Technology Professor Theodoros Zahariades referred to the economic aspect of the Circular Economy and the fact that financial incentives can help us in our goal for transition to this model.

He said that in order to achieve the objective of Circular Economy a general principle must apply according to which prices of every product must also reflect the environmental costs caused by this product and environmental taxes. He also referred to the tax imposed for overconsumption of energy and the incentives for the use of natural resources.

Lecturer Antonis Zorbas said that basically circular economy asks the consumers to redefine their relationship with the products they purchase and try to increase their life as much as possible. He said that this requires a change of attitude by the consumers and change in their everyday habits.

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Going green: Latin America’s energy revolution

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The power struggle over the north’s electricity

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Cypriot government to expedite decisions on renewable energy

Original article.

Cyprus Federation of Employers and Industrialists (OEB) calls on the government to expedited its decisions in a bid to boost investments on renewable sources of energy, the federation`s President Christos Michaelides has said, as the Energy Ministry notes that the field records progress.

Speaking during a press conference ahead of the Save Energy 2016 fair, Michaelides referred to a meeting he had with Minister of Energy, Commerce Industry and Tourism, noting that despite the very good programmes implemented by the Ministry and despite progress, he has been told that no definite decisions have been taken so far.

On the problems observed in the Reneweable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund, Michaelides said the state should fulfill its commitments and contracts if it wants to be taken seriously and to attract foreign investments.

We cannot attract investors when we say that current contracts may be revoked after a few years when a problem arises in the state coffers,” he said.

The broader challenges 

Michaelides said he does not downgrades the broader challenges of the Cypriot economy or the budget but added that there should be a stable and long-term policy as well as consistency towards investors.

On his part, Constantinos Xihilos, Deputy Director of Energy Agency of the Ministry of Energy recalled that a decision taken by the Council of Ministers stipulates that the investors in a commercial energy production system can be funded for the production cost until the operation of a competitive energy market in Cyprus.

An investor with the assistance of an expert should monitor the developments regarding the shaping of the regulations of a competitive market to be able to ascertain a possible opportunity,” he added.

Furthermore, Xihilos said preliminary results show that the contribution of renewable energy in the 2015 electricity generation reached 9.8% from 8% in 2014.

He noted that the total capacity of renewable energy has exceeded 253 MW of which 85MW from wind parks and 10.4 from biomass stations.

Source: CNA

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