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Cyprus must confront the difficulties of the energy transition to prosper

In spite of being a necessary and ambitious goal, the energy transition, which primarily refers to the switch from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources, presents numerous difficulties that must be resolved, according to Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) chairman Andreas Poullikkas.

The necessity to provide the appropriate infrastructure to erect energy and hydrogen storage technologies, according to Poullikkas, is a significant challenge.

He explained that renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, are variable and subject to changes in the weather.

"This means that they cannot always provide a constant supply of energy. To ensure a reliable energy supply, additional infrastructure must be built, such as energy storage systems including hydrogen and in the case of the electricity sector an upgrade of the transmission system, he said noting that the process is both expensive and time consuming.

Poullikkas added that adopting digitalized, smart energy systems is another challenge.

Changing energy production, transmission, distribution, and consumption, as well as new laws, regulations, and incentives that are intended to support this entire endeavor, are all necessary, according to him, and they must all be implemented in a coordinated and integrated manner.

The transition to renewable energy sources for electricity generation would result in the closure of fossil fuel power facilities, the loss of jobs in these industries, and adverse effects on the people that depend on them for subsistence. The CERA chairman identified this as another difficulty.

Governments must address these effects and support the impacted communities, according to Poullikkas.

The energy transition also poses political difficulties, he continued, noting that "some governments and businesses are already resisting the energy transition for a variety of reasons, including energy costs, making it difficult to build political support for the necessary policies and investments to support the energy transition."

He went on to say that despite these difficulties, a sustainable energy future and addressing the immediate threat of climate change depend on the energy transition.

Additionally, according to Poullikkas, the energy transition calls for large financial investments in research, development, and infrastructure, as well as the participation and efforts of governments, corporations, and people from all over the world.

"With a strong commitment and the right policies and actions, the energy transition can be successful and deliver many benefits, such as reduced air pollution, improved public health and increased energy security," he added.

According to him, this necessitates a fundamental transformation of the energy infrastructure, which calls for an all-encompassing, long-term sustainable energy plan that covers all aspects of the energy industry, not just electricity production.

Heating and cooling, transportation, energy conservation, the exploitation of domestic hydrocarbons and other energy resources, as well as the protection and management of crucial pieces of energy infrastructure, are other sectors that call for both planning and the necessary activities.

According to Poullikkas, "s a small island nation with a relatively high dependence on fossil fuels, our country faces a number of challenges in its transition to a more sustainable energy mix."

He continued, pointing out that "the main objectives of development policy as it has been formulated during the last sixty years have been economic growth and the achievement of full employment conditions." "More specifically, Cyprus, like several other countries, built its current development model on the overconsumption of its natural resources," he said.

Furthermore, he noted that, as far as we are aware, the national development policy of Cyprus has rarely taken the long-term interests of coming generations into consideration.

Additionally, according to Poullikkas, Cyprus' sustainable energy strategy should consider a number of goals, such as the need to combat climate change, the use of sustainable technologies, such as increasing the share of renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and other alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen, energy security, the growth of electrical interconnections with the EU's internal electricity market, and the protection of Cyprus' environment.

The future sustainability of Cyprus is directly linked to the effective management of its hydrocarbon reserves, the further adoption of sustainable technologies, and the growth of interconnections, he continued. The energy sector is anticipated to be the foundation of Cyprus' economy in the years to come.

If these sectors are grown in a sensible, sustainable way, he said, they may promote both economic growth and an increase in jobs.

In order to facilitate the energy transition, Poullikkas noted that Cyprus will need to make large investments in hydrogen technologies, smart energy infrastructure, sustainable technologies, and educational programs.

The energy transition is required for the future of Cyprus' future generations, he said. "While these challenges may seem daunting, the long-term benefits of a more sustainable energy mix, including lower greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality and energy security, make the energy transition necessary for the future of Cyprus’ future generations."



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