The government has set an energy savings target of 14.5% for the year 2020, a senior energy ministry official told the members of parliament, Cyprus Mail’s portal reported. Every percentage point in energy savings currently corresponds to EUR 10 million, said Stelios Chimonas, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Cyprus.
The state will set aside EUR 32 million for two Save and Upgrade schemes targeted at households and businesses for the period from 2014 to 2020. The first has already been launched, with EUR 14 million allocated, involving government grants to homes and business premises. The second scheme involves bank loans.
The government hopes to achieve the energy savings targets based on projections of a slowdown in energy consumption.
Chimonas said the intent is to hire people from the private sector to assist in processing applications, as at present the four ministry employees working on this cannot handle the workload, slowing down the process. According to the official, from 2004 to 2013 some EUR 47 million was diverted from the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) Fund to finance energy savings projects. The government hopes to achieve the energy savings targets based on projections of a slowdown in energy consumption – chiefly due to the financial squeeze. According to the same forecasts, energy consumption will rebound to pre-2013 levels no earlier than 2018. The projections are also based on expectations of a higher penetration of renewables in the energy mix. Cyprus must transpose into national law three EU directives relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The parliament approved a ‘temporary green tax’ in July, deemed necessary by the government to ensure the viability of the Renewable Energy Sources Fund.