Cyprus Mail

Vassilikos working at full capacity by next month

By Peter Stevenson

TWO days short of the second anniversary of the fatal blast at the Mari Naval Base, the EAC announced that the power station was almost working at full capacity.

The cost of rebuilding the Vassilikos power station, which was almost completely destroyed by the July11, 2011 explosion, came in well below initial estimates made by experts from the EU solidarity fund who had visited the station later in 2011. They had predicted it could have cost anywhere between €330 million and €700 million with the cost finally reaching €165 million, half of the most optimistic evaluation.

Next month when Turbine 2 is expected to return to full working order work on the power station will be completed with capacity at 860MW.

Electricity Authority’s (EAC) chairman Charalambos Tsouris, during a tour of Vassilikos yesterday, described the work done in such a short period of time as a ‘small miracle’.

“EAC employees have made huge efforts during that time so the public would not have to suffer the consequences of the station’s destruction but also to rebuild it as soon as possible,” he said.

July 11, 2011 is still etched firmly in the memory of the EAC’s general manager Stelios Stylianou. “After hearing the news I could still not fathom what we were faced with,” Stylianou said at a news conference at the site.

He said that the work done by electricity regulator CERA, the commerce ministry and the EAC meant that within 30 days of the blast, the whole island had constant, safe and flowing electricity.

“The experiences gained by the authority from the tragedy are priceless and mean we can now offer consultation services to organisation in Cyprus and abroad,” he said.

Head of the rehabilitation project Antonis Patsalis revealed that an important part of rebuilding the plant was making sure the units were compatible with natural gas.

“The units are more efficient and we are fully prepared to work with natural gas,” he said.

It is expected that the station will now operate more efficiently and the cost of production will be between 8.2 and 10.6 per cent less than before, eventually reducing the price to consumer, Patsalis added.

After being quizzed by reporters whether the decision to return the power station to full capacity following the blast and in light of reduced demand in electricity, the head of CERA, George Shammas, said he believed it was the correct decision.

“It was without a doubt the correct decision as units in Dhekelia will be decommissioned soon and the EAC will need the extra power which is not currently being taken advantage of,” Shammas said.

It is expected that by next month Vassilikos will be working at full capacity,

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