Cyprus waiting for permits

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Cyprus ended 2008 with still no wind capacity installed and prospects for 2009 are difficult to gauge as no wind farm projects have been fully authorised in the country. Yet Ionnis Chryssis of the Cyprus Institute of Energy expects the first wind turbine to be turning by 2010, at the latest.

As developers wait for their projects to be authorised, they are also waiting for the details of a new and seemingly quite generous wind power production incentive recently approved by the government, but not yet published in the country's official gazette. What is known is that the purchase price for wind energy has been agreed at EUR 0.166/kWh for a specified volume of production each year, capped at 1750 hours of operation at "full load" (equivalent to a 20% capacity factor) before reverting to the standard purchase price of the electricity authority, currently EUR 0.10/kWh. Particularly productive turbines will reach the subsidy cap faster than those on less windy sites. The purchase prices are applicable for 20 years for all projects coming online, up from a previous time span of 15 years.

Athanasios Tsantilas of Greece's Rokas, a subsidiary of Spanish wind giant Iberdrola, says his company has received a production licence for wind projects on Cyprus with a combined capacity of 179 MW. As the island eases into the wind market, however, Tsantilas notes that Cyprus intends to install wind capacity in stages. In an initial stage, the official target for 2013 is 165 MW. For Rokas, this means the government will initially allow it to push forward with plans to install about 90 MW, although the company is only targeting 70 MW initially, given local opposition problems with the remaining 20 MW. "I hope that by the end of 2009 we have all the permissions we need and of course the ratification of the decision on the feed-in tariff," says Tsantilas.

Rokas is not the only one hoping. Wincono Cyprus, a joint venture between local developer Ketonis and Germany's Wincono, is awaiting final authorisation for 12 MW and 31.5 MW projects on the island. Local developers like DK Windsupply are also active, although the number of players is limited by what developers say is the relatively small size of the potential market. Tsantilas sees capacity on the island topping out at about 300-400 MW.

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