Cyprus’ Minister of Energy Giorgos Papanastasiou said Friday that the government intensifies the efforts to bring natural gas to the country from fields in the region and the  fields in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). He also said he didn’t think that gas from “Aphrodite” field of Cyprus’ block 12 should end up in Egypt and the existing infrastructures there, as the country was planning to do.

Speaking at a conference in Nicosia on “Green Transition and Entrepreneurship” the Minister announced that his Ministry prepares a national energy policy based in smaller projects that will eventually help natural gas come to Cyprus for power generation, after years of efforts.

He also said that he didn’t agree the natural gas of the “Aphrodite” field to go to Egypt but he would instead like to see it coming to Cyprus to reduce energy costs.

He also said that the Government’s goal was to provide substantial incentives to households, businesses and public bodies to invest in green energy, as well as in energy efficiency measures to reduce the cost of energy.

The Minister said that “our approach around the use of natural gas as a transition fuel is being reviewed and in the mix for use in the domestic market, we are including the natural gas found in the Eastern Mediterranean, and more specifically in Cyprus EEZ “.

Answering a question about the EastMed pipeline, the Minister of Energy said that the pipeline is “a geopolitical project” and added that “in order for a multi-billion investment pipeline to survive it must have a payback horizon”. As he said EastMed pipeline did not have a payback horizon because natural gas has an end date due to the green deal.

The Minister added that “those that survive are small projects”, and said that the national energy policy would be based on smaller projects that will bring natural gas in Cyprus and will utilize some of the natural gas of the region for power generation to bring down the cost. He added that since such investment is very large “we are thinking next to this to do a small gas liquefaction project to export gas to Europe and elsewhere”.

He also said that he disagrees with the natural gas of the “Aphrodite” field going to Egypt and added that “the right states first think of themselves and then of their neighbors.”

He added that the fact that “there is infrastructure in Egypt does not mean that you can easily get our natural gas to Egypt with the existing infrastructure”

Referring to important measures and reform promoted by the Ministry of Energy, Papanastasiou said that these include, among others, the preparation of Grant Schemes amounting to 80 million euros, to promote large energy storage systems and the implementation of the National Action Plan , amounting to 98 million euros, for the transformation of the Cypriot economy into a circular economy, adding that the budget includes a fund of 35 million euros for the installation of smart meters, as well as a fund of 100 million euros for investments in the electricity network, in order to support the green transition.

He also said that the establishment of a one-stop-centre for the licensing of RES projects was progressing.

In his speech at the conference, the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Petros Xenophontos said that “our pursuit is the evolution of our economic model, so that we can move to a modern, circular and competitive economy, with zero net greenhouse gas emissions.”

He stressed that this goal will only be achieved if the transition was implemented with the active participation and involvement of all participants who contribute to the economy, including the private sector, business and professional associations, Non-Governmental Organizations, the academia and civil society. He pointed out that the strengthening of the private sector in the field of green entrepreneurship was of great importance.

Speaking at the conference, the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Alexis Vafeadis, said that he hoped that “we will succeed in freeing our economy from the use of fossil fuels” and added that Cyprus’ binding goal vis-à-vis the EU is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32% annually, while he noted that Cyprus produces approximately 4 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, of which 50% is attributable to transport.

Vafeadis said that for the implementation of sustainable urban mobility plans the Ministry “will emphasize on public transport” such as buses, the introduction of bus lanes and bike lanes, transfer stops and improving accessibility in all city centers.

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