By Constantinos Psillides
CONSUMERS could see their energy bill skyrocket in 2020 if the state doesn’t come up with alternative ways of producing energy, officials from the department of the environments have said.
The officials told the House environment committee that Cyprus was facing a serious problem as the EU was in the process of introducing a new framework for emissions for the 2020-2030 period.
As part of its action against greenhouse gas emissions, the EU will be demanding member states reduce their emissions by 43 per cent on 2005 levels.
The current framework calls for a 21 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.
Costas Hadjipanayiotou and Lakis Mesimeris, the officials from the environment department told MPs that since the Electricity Authority of Cyprus was almost completely dependent on diesel to produce energy, it would have to pay other EU countries for the right to emit additional greenhouse gases.
It was reported that EAC currently spends up €10 million for gas emissions. The two officials estimated that within the new framework, even in the best-case scenario, the EAC would have to pay €40 million annually for emissions.
The nightmare scenario –which includes the EU asking businesses to cough up €40 per CO2 tonne. Currently, businesses within the EU that exceed the greenhouse gas emission cap are forced to pay €5 per tonne. The framework deals with all businesses that produce emissions and not just EAC.
The EAC is currently paying €550 million for diesel per year.
EAC spokesman Costas Gavrielides told the Cyprus Mail that a change in policy regarding energy production was up to the government, not the EAC. The organisation did everything in its power to reduce greenhouse emissions, he said.
“We have invested over €500 million since 2008 to convert the turbogenerators at Vassilikos power station into units that can run on natural gas. The whole station, which by the way can power the whole island, can run on natural gas at a moment’s notice. It is up to the government to decide when,” said Gavrielides, adding that what was evident in this case was that Cyprus should hasten the process of exploiting is hydrocarbons.
The environment officials also told MPs that Cyprus had actually secured a surplus in greenhouse gas emissions to the tune of €30 million, saying that cashing in the surplus now would be a huge mistake. They said Cyprus would probably need the surplus in the near future and that under the new EU framework it could be worth a lot more.