The state must proceed with immediate installation of a centralised renewable energy (RES) storage system to prevent blackouts from becoming commonplace, wind energy association secretary Christos Tsingis said on Monday.

Speaking on state broadcaster CyBC radio, Tsingis said it was unacceptable for the public to be encouraged to continue with residential photovoltaic (PV) installations when the energy produced by them ends up wasted due to state negligence.

Tsingis’ statements come on the heels of a fractious exchange between the transmission operators (TSOs) and the energy minister on Friday, where the former called for a halt to approval of new applications for residential PVs.

Homeowners with an average PV installation system of 5kW, Tsingis argued, could easily be subsidised to install batteries with a capacity of 2kW at a cost of around €2,000-€2,500, so that the surplus energy they produce during peak RES production hours instead of being wasted, can be used once residents return from work, making their system self-sufficient.

Currently, residents of homes with PV installations are effectively forced to buy conventional energy from EAC after hours, which is nonsensical, Tsingis said.

Technological advances in energy production and storage make investing in storage capacities the only logical way forward, he said.

Asked how we ended up in this situation, where system operators are having to cut off or only accept intermittent supply of renewable energy from large PV parks, controlled residential systems, businesses and even small un-metered systems, Tsingis did not mince his words, saying that no actual agreed-upon plan exists between the ministry of energy, the energy regulatory authority (Raek) and the operators, and that the strategic plan on paper was “for the eyes of the EU” only.

Elsewhere, Tsingis maintained that the actual TSOs are not to be blamed as they are simply being responsible and doing their job, including warning of fears about the current system’s capacity, something which is not new, but was in fact predicted as far back as 2013.

Tsingis continued to rubbish the suggestion that centralised storage was prohibitively expensive.

“Time has overtaken us,” Tsingis said, and renewable energy storage is not a luxury but a crucial state-wide infrastructure, akin to airports and roads. Its provision cannot be left to private investors to indefinitely grapple and bid over, Game of Thrones style,” Tsingis added.

Moreover, according to Tsingis, dispersed small storage installations are not in fact a viable practical solution for such an urgent problem in a small, isolated network like Cyprus.

With the situation now being what it is, and having “fallen behind” the state should proceed immediately with investment in a centralised storage system managed by the current TSO, later possibly opening this up to private investment, Tsingis concluded.