Cyprus is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels for its energy and currently has not a single megawatt of wind capacity to its name. Indeed, a small amount of photovoltaic capacity is all the country's renewable electricity generation capability so far. Come 2020, though, the country hopes to have 300 MW of wind plant installed, contributing to its EU directive target to source 13% of its energy from renewable energy sources, up from less than 3% in 2005. The planned wind capacity will provide an annual output of around 450 GWh, says the Cyprus Institute of Energy, representing about 5.4% of projected final electricity demand, estimated at 8.4 TWh. To no surprise, wind would rise to the top of the Cypriot renewables tree, accounting for a whopping 57.8% of all planned renewables electricity output by 2020.
A few developers are already seeking permission for projects in Cyprus, with around 220 MW of capacity now progressing through the planning system (Windpower Monthly, March 2009). Once the first wind turbines begin turning, market players will be able to take advantage of a new and more generous incentive payment. Approved by the government, but not yet published in the country's official gazette, the purchase price for wind energy - applicable for 20 years for all projects - has been agreed at EUR0.166/kWh for a specified volume of production each year, capped at 1750 hours of operation at "full load" (equivalent to a 20% capacity factor). When that volume is reached, the rate will revert to the standard purchase price of the electricity authority, currently EUR0.10/kWh.
Attractive incentives aside, it is not all plain sailing in Cyprus. Wind speeds are modest, at 5-6 m/s, while locals fear wind development may negatively impact the island's status as a holiday destination. "They have to live with us, though," says Athanasios Tsantilas of Rokas, the Greek subsidiary of Spanish wind giant Iberdrola. "They have targets to reach."
Heather O'Brian, Windpower Monthly