Cyprus has the necessary know-how and conditions for the development of Renewable Energy Sources to contribute in the production of green hydrogen, experts said on Friday.
Speaking at an information day on Green Hydrogen in Cyprus held in Nicosia, experts noted that the island also has the geostrategic position for the import of hydrogen to Europe.
The government has set among its main priorities the reduction of electricity costs for households and businesses, while simultaneously strengthening the country’s energy supply, Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said in his address at the event.
He added that the country is also aiming to contribute in Europe’s efforts to diversify energy sources and routes.
“We are implementing policies to promote the use of RES and Energy Saving measures, the electrical interconnection of Cyprus with neighbouring countries and the arrival of natural gas in Cyprus”, he noted.
Regarding hydrogen, Papanastasiou explained the European Hydrogen Strategy aims to produce up to 10 million metric tons of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030, while through the REPowerEU project this goal has been doubled and it is proposed to be achieved by facilitating imports, by 2030, of an additional 10 million metric tons of hydrogen.
Therefore, with the aim of developing the Cyprus National Strategy for Hydrogen, the energy minister prepared a relevant study, which presents various ways to introduce hydrogen in the energy mix of Cyprus.
“Specifically, it is being examined whether the production of green hydrogen, which is produced by the method of electrolysis of water from electricity coming from RES, could be a key to the further promotion of RES in Cyprus,” he said.
He then explained how “green hydrogen can have a range of uses in industries such as, for example, cement production. It can also be used in the production of electricity, as well as a fuel in road transport, shipping and air transport.”
Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) President, Andreas Poullikkas, spoke about the role of hydrogen in the energy transition. He said there is a “very optimistic” long-term scenario for the transition of the EU from a carbon economy to a hydrogen economy, the national hydrogen strategies and the economics of green hydrogen, in relation to its competitiveness compared to other fuels taking into account the purchase price of greenhouse gas rights.
Poullikkas talked about “hydrogen valleys”, RES energy self-sufficient communities that also channel energy to electrolysis units to produce hydrogen, which will be traded in the local networks.
Referring to Cyprus, he stressed that the hydrogen strategy needs to be integrated into the national long-term and regional strategy. Furthermore, hydrogen regulations need to be legislated, he said, so that the state can provide targeted measures to start the hydrogen chain in Cyprus, for production, storage, transport and use.
In his own statements, CEO of Hydrogen Europe, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, said Cyprus could be one of the most dynamic member states on the hydrogen map.
“Cyprus has access to air and sun. It is located at a key geographical point and that is why it is time for Cyprus to join the great conversation that is taking place worldwide on the market for hydrogen,” he said. He added that Cyprus has a voice in the Council of EU and has the necessary expertise.
“I am impressed by the depth of the know-how”, he said referring to the remarks made by the Minister of Energy and the President of CERA.
He then noted that Cyprus, with its expertise, can be a leader of part of the evolution and development of hydrogen.
Asked about the interconnection of Europe with India and the Gulf countries and the role that Cyprus can play in this, he said that the EU decided at the G20 Summit to contribute to the so-called EU Gateway, an infrastructure that will be built to connect India and the Persian Gulf with Europe. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in her State of the Union address in the European Parliament referred to “clean hydrogen pipelines”, Chatzimarkakis said.
That is why, he added, the East Med pipeline issue is becoming relevant again. He expressed the view that “it will be an important part of this large infrastructure.” Politically, he acknowledged, “it has always been difficult,” adding however that “with the new political and geostrategic developments, the East Med is back on the European agenda.”
Some 27 companies from Cyprus, Greece, the Netherlands, Lebanon and Romania have collaborated to submit a proposal for the creation of a Hydrogen Cyprus Valley, with a multitude of activities for the production, use and processing of green hydrogen using Cyprus as a base, the President of the Cyprus Hydrogen Association, Makis Ketonis said at the event.