Long Way To 2020 Renewable Energy Goal
Cyprus still has a long way to go to reach its 2020 goal of 13 percent of its power from renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy, said Environment Commissioner Charalambos Theopemptou.
"We've only reached 3-4 percent, so in the next nine years we have a long way to go," he said in comments on state radio.
A new 82 megawatt windfarm recently opened in Orites, Paphos, but will account for less than one percent of the total energy produced from renewable sources, he said.
Cyprus is obliged under EU law to develop more renewable energy sources. Five more windparks are in the pipeline for development, but according to President Demetris Christofias, renewable energy is "not enough to solve our energy problem."
"It is expected that by the end of the year the people of Cyprus will know whether they own significant deposits of hydrocarbons," he said, referring to undersea reserves of oil and natural gas.
The government is expected to sink millions of euros into developing the infrastructure to exploit hydrocarbons if the reserves turn out to be as significant as expected.
In the meantime, Cyprus consumers pay the highest electricity prices in the EU. The prices have risen as the Electricity Authority passes on fines for excess greenhouse gases onto its customers.
In other environment news, Theopemptou said that all imports from Japan must be checked for radiation, even cars.
"Imagine if a car from Japan was sitting outside and was covered in radioactive dust," he said.
The test to check for radioactivity is simple and cheap, said Theopemptou.