Cyprus could export renewable electricity

At last some influential people in Cyprus are beginning to realise that Cyprus could not just be self-sufficient in electricity but could export power too. University of Cyprus rector Constantinos Christofides is campaigning for construction of a huge solar power farm in Cyprus. Well done Dr Christofides! Let’s hope it gets built.

In his Kypros-2025 project, Dr Christofides envisages the government allocating 30 square kilometres of land for the installation of photovoltaic panels with a total capacity of 2000MW. Here’s a link to a recent article:

Completion of such a project would be wonderful. It would mean that the Cyprus government has finally realised that its dream of vast wealth from the Aphrodite gas field and other hydrocarbon deposits will never come true.

It would mean the Cyprus government has finally appreciated that its best potential for vast energy wealth is from Cyprus’ huge solar and wind power renewable energy potential. And it can tap into it regardless of any clashes with Turkey about who controls what offshore assets.

Sadly, the Cyprus government shows no sign of becoming interested in Dr Christofides project, or any other proposal to develop large scale renewable energy, despite its agreed targets, its unfulfilled promises to the EU and the continued reliance of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus on foul, CO2 belching oil-fired power stations.

The vested interests in Cyprus seem likely to halt Kypros-2025 just as they seem to halt many worthwhile proposals.

The pleasing thing, though, is that Cyprus has many opportunities for a rapid expansion of solar, wind and other renewable energies much more cheaply and without necessarily harming the interest of those vested interests.

My last article showed how photovoltaic panels on rooftops and domestic property alone could power all Cyprus buildings. In addition to that, development of more onshore solar farms and wind farms on spare land could easily supply enough electricity to power all non-domestic uses in Cyprus. These could be large, small or mid-sized to make good use of however many or few donums of land are available at particular locations.

The biggest potential of all is from offshore wind power from the seas all around Cyprus. Every kilowatt hour from offshore wind could be exported at a profit if enough of the onshore potential wind and solar power is realised to meet Cypriot needs. Plans are already in place for an international power cable which would enable Cyprus to export as well as import power.

Cyprus’ offshore energy potential is enormous. Shallow water wind farms are a well established technology all over the world – have a look when you fly into Copenhagen airport. Deep water wind power is expanding rapidly, with giant farms of thousands of megawatts capacity springing up in the North Sea, among other places.

That’s without even considering the growing scope for floating wind farms, floating solar arrays and various marine power technologies.

President Anastasiades and his government should be making contact with major wind power developers such as Orsted, Iberdola or Vattenfall to offer them zones off Cyprus. They would snap up the potential.

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