Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said on Wednesday that Cyprus is making great strides towards reaching energy self-sufficiency and a competitive internal gas market.

“At the same time, we are also promoting new technologies aimed at reducing energy costs for households and businesses by providing incentives for green investments,” she said, addressing The Economist conference in Nicosia.

Titled ‘Navigating the crisis through mastery and inclusiveness’, the two-day Economist summit explores priorities for the Cypriot economy as well as conditions for the resumption of peace talks.

“We are currently going through an extremely critical period for the energy sector in Europe,” Pilides said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have created an unprecedented energy crisis and have radically changed the geopolitical balance, leading to a major effort on the part of the EU to wean itself off Russian energy.

“Meanwhile, the need to tackle climate change means that we must also ensure that our efforts for the energy transition continue with the same intensity.”

The energy minister added that around 40 per cent of the national Recovery and Resilience Plan’s budget are earmarked for the country’s transition to a green and circular economy.

“To this end, we are implementing and proposing reforms promoting the use of renewable energy sources and electric mobility, as well as the liberalisation of the electricity market.”

Pilides called the ongoing works on the EuroAsia Interconnector “a great development for the country”.

She was referring to the project, inaugurated last Friday, that will connect the Cypriot, Greek and Israeli power grids through the world’s longest submarine power cable which will total over 1,200 kilometres with a 2,000 Megawatt capability.

It will allow Cyprus to have an excess of renewable energy that could be exported or exchanged.

“This is a very important week for the energy sector in Cyprus. The EuroAsia Interconnector is set to secure our country’s energy supply, while enhancing the competition in the electricity market,” she said.

“At the same time, it will have multiple benefits for our region in general, as it can contribute to strengthening the EU’s energy security by creating a reliable alternative energy supply.”