Coupled Analysis of Resource Sectors Management in Cyprus
Resource sectors management is essential for the survival of any nation. The example of the isolated Easter Island and its collapse, described by Jared Diamond, indicates failure in such management. Similarly, the Republic of Cyprus is an isolated nation in the Eastern Mediterranean, heavily depending on fossil fuel imports to support its developed economy. Being member of the European Union, Cyprus has to comply with Directives for the year 2020 regarding emissions and Renewable Energy Sources (RES). The government produced a National Renewable Energy Action Plan to implement its renewable energy policy and achieve the compulsory targets of 13% RES contribution to the final energy consumption and 10% bio-fuels share in the overall transport petrol and diesel consumption by 2020. For 13% RES contribution, 16% of RES electricity must be produced by 2020. Technologies of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, wind power and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) are adopted while bio-fuels are mostly imported to meet the targets, reasons being the limited agricultural land along with water shortages.
RES installations take up significant amounts of land with the first wind farm, connected to the national grid in 2010, covering an area of 16 km2. Planned wind farms will approximately cover 60 km2 while solar PV systems will cover 4 km2 by 2020, indicating the difference in land requirements for each technology. A wind farm covers more surface area but the land can be used for agricultural purposes since only the turbine base takes up land. Solar PV, though, cover the whole land they are located on and do not allow for alternative uses simultaneously. Furthermore, conflict is expected between RES installations and stakeholders such as real estate developers and farmers who have their own share in Cyprus economy.
Seawater desalination has proven to be the most reliable solution for Cyprus but requires energy security if it will be the major source of fresh-water and solve the island’s drinking problem as planned. The discovery of hydrocarbons and introduction of natural gas, extracted from the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, into the energy market by 2014 will prove decisive in the energy hence water security of the island.
The integrated and holistic approach to management of water, energy and land sectors and their interactions is essential if Cyprus is not to fail in compliance with EC targets and most importantly in becoming more sustainable at times of economic recession and political instability in the region.