Statement by the Representative of Cyprus
Ambassador Constantine Moushoutas
at the Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly
on World Solar Programme 1996-2005

October 16, 1998

Mr. President,

In spite of the calamity, human and economic that befell my country in 1974, the people of Cyprus through their indomitable spirit for survival and their hard work managed to lift the standard of living of our people to admirable levels.

One of the sources of sustainable development used by our government and people was and is the utilization of sun which blesses our island 360 days a year.

Cyprus is not endowed with indigenous sources of fossil fuels. With the notable exception of solar energy, the utilization of which accounts for 40% of Cyprus primary energy consumption, the rest of the energy required to meet its energy needs is imported. Consequently, the country is totally dependent upon imported energy, primarily crude oil and refined products.

Deployment of renewable energy sources is one of the priorities of Cyprus' energy policy in order to limit energy importation. In fact, alternative forms of energy are being utilized on a practical basis by Cypriots for their daily needs. Windmills have been used extensively in the past for pumping water from wells, mostly for irrigation purposes. Solar water heaters are being used for meeting domestic hot water needs. The appreciation of Cypriots for using renewable energy sources is reflected in the fact that Cyprus is a leading country in the world in installed solar collectors.

Solar heaters have been used in Cyprus since 1960. Ambitious manufacturers, managed to adapt the technology of solar heaters to local conditions. Today more than 90% of dwellings in Cyprus are equipped with solar heaters.

A laboratory was established by the Government in1980, to provide technical assistance to the manufacturers of solar heaters. Currently, this service to manufacturers, is provided by the Applied Energy Center. Records, kept by the ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, reveal that the efficiency of solar collectors has been improved over the last 10 years.

After the 80's, when the second generation of solar collectors penetrated the Cypriot market, solar energy began being used by hotels for heating water and swimming pools. Currently, more than 50% of hotels are equipped with collective Solar systems.

Solar energy is also used in Cyprus in other non thermal applications, for instance powering telecommunication receivers and transmitters at remote areas, where the electricity grid does not reach. Furthermore, the Cypriot Telecommunication Authority has installed solar cells on telephone kiosks which, are not easily assessable by the electricity grid.

Further, solar energy utilization in Cyprus is being pursued both by the private sector and the government authorities. Towards this end research/adaptation work is being carried out in fields such as solar cooling and heating solar desalination and further deployment of photovoltaic systems. It is estimated that the contribution of solar energy to the national energy balance will double in the next 10 years.

Mr. President,

Within the context of the policy for further exploitation of renewable energy sources, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus took the decision to purchase electricity produced from alternative sources and fuels at a higher price than what it costs the Authority to produce it. This measure is considered as a milestone for sustainable development and promotion of solar energy for the production of electricity.

My government Mr. President, is willing to share our experience and expertise on this issue with other interested developing countries.

Cyprus expresses its deep appreciation to Zimbabwe for this important initiative and for the hosting of the World Solar Summit. We lend our full support to the World Solar Programme; and we are pleased to be among the cosponsors of the draft resolution which we hope will be adopted without a vote.

Thank you Mr. President.

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