THE ELECTRICITY Authority (EAC) was yesterday given a few days reprieve following government threats that it would seek to satisfy the island’s additional power needs from elsewhere, after it promised to increase its generation by 130 megawatts no later than May 1 next year.
But Commerce Minister Antonis Michaelides said that depending on Transmission System Operator (TSO) readings of electricity needs over the next few days, he might still decide to go to third parties to satisfy the island’s demands.
“[Nevertheless] in light of a letter I received from the EAC general manager today, who unequivocally states that the Authority will respond to the needs of any demands for the summer of 2008 and that it undertakes this responsibility, the Commerce Ministry, for the time being, does not deem it useful to go to third parties,” Michaelides said.
The minister was speaking to reporters following a two-hour meeting with EAC representatives, and the heads of the TSO and Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA).
“Despite the EAC’s assurances that by May 1, 2008 it will produce an additional 130MW, the ministry’s advisors judge that under certain circumstances this additional production will not cover the generation reserve, which should ideally be around 20 per cent over the actual need,” he said.
“Based on estimates, the additional 130MW guaranteed by the EAC gives us a generation reserve of eight per cent,” Michaelides added.
The generation reserve is the margin of power between the maximum demand and available power.
He said both the TSO and CERA had serious misgivings that 130MW would suffice under similar heat wave conditions or a worsening of weather conditions next year, as this eight per cent reserve was unsatisfactory.
Michaelides said the ministry would seriously take both sides’ opinions into consideration and depending on the daily readings of electricity needs, would over the next few days decide to what extent the EAC’s assurances were satisfactory or not.
EAC vice chairman Yiannos Valanides said the installation of a fourth unit at the Vasiliko power station was going ahead within the planned timeframe.
He said the first phase would see the unit producing 130MW by May next year, followed by an additional 90MW in December, making it fully operational.
Valanides said the EAC had predicted that even with a five per cent increase in demand in 2008, as well as similar heat wave conditions, the additional unit would generate sufficient energy to cover the island’s needs.
“Beyond that, any unforeseen events that occur cannot be predicted,” he said.