Energy Resources

Cyprus Table of Contents

Cyprus had an unfortunate energy situation. The island had no known deposits of mineral fuels, and the lack of rivers that flowed year-round made significant generation of hydroelectric power impossible. The island did have a great amount of sunlight, however, and in the government-controlled sector about 35 percent of houses were fitted with rooftop solar panels for heating water. By 1990 Cyprus was one of the world's foremost users of solar energy. The only other domestic source of energy was firewood.

Petroleum, all of it imported, supplied about 95 percent of the island's energy. Oil imports consumed about 50 percent of foreign exchange earnings in some years. Imported crude was processed by the Larnaca refinery of the Cyprus Petroleum Refinery Ltd. In 1989 this refinery had a capacity of 17,000 barrels a day, or 800,000 tons a year. Major users imported their own heavy fuel oil directly via oil terminals at Larnaca, Dhekelia, to the east of Larnaca, and Moni, near Limassol.

The largest single user of petroleum, consuming about 35 percent of the total, was the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), a public corporation founded in 1952. The EAC was responsible for nearly all of the island's generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power. The "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" ("TRNC") had no significant power plants and received its electricity from the EAC. As of 1990 it had not paid for any of this power.

In 1989 the EAC produced 1.84 gigawatt-hour from three oilfired thermal stations, two at Dhekelia (one old plant with a capacity of 42 megawatts, used only in emergencies, and a new plant with a capacity of 240 megawatts), and one at Moni, near Limassol, with a capacity of 180 megawatts. EAC also had a few small standby diesel plants. A number of industrial operations had their own generating facilities. At the beginning of the 1990s, there were plans to construct a coal-fired power plant at Vasilikos to reduce petroleum dependency, but environmental concerns may prevent its being built.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress