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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wind farm first for Cyprus

(Cyprus Weekly) - By Lucie Robson

The ground breaking ceremony for Cyprus’s first wind farm took place in the Orites area of Paphos on Wednesday marking a significant milestone in the island’s development of its renewable energy capability.

“This occasion marks a historic day for the progress of our country towards ‘green development’,” said House President, Marios Garoyian at the ground-breaking.

The first such installation of its kind in Cyprus, the wind farm is expected to be operational by the end of 2010 and will produce 8% of the island’s total energy capacity.

The wind farm is located on the Orites Mountain on a site spread over 16 square kilometres.

The project has a capacity of 82MW in its first phase, with approved capacity for 140MW when complete.

Orites, the first private-sector power project on the island, is also the first to benefit from the new 20-year fixed rate tariff that has recently been approved by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and the European Commission. Construction began last month, with operations scheduled to start at the end of 2010.

Managed by DK Wind Supply Ltd, financing for the project was secured by Platina Partners LLP, a private equity fund advisor specialising in renewable energy.

Financing for the project was secured by Platina Partners. Debt financing was arranged by Commerzbank, ING and Nord LB, with EIB providing 50% of the debt.

The ceremony was attended by Akis Ellinas, Chairman of DK Wind Supply, Thomas Rottner and Emma Collins of Platina Partners, House President, Marios Garoyian, Interior Minister Neoklis Sylikiotis, EIB Vice-President, Plutarchos Sakellaris and Deputy High Commissioner for Cyprus, Brian Olley.

The blessing was given by the Senior Diocesan Official Father Geronimo.

In an official statement, Ellinas spoke of the benefits of wind power: “At a time when climate change climbs to the top of the political agenda, wind energy continues to be the only advanced technology ready and able to deliver renewable power on a large scale,” he said.

“Our project is the biggest investment in renewable energy and the first wind energy investment in Cyprus. It represents an investment amounting to €170m.”

Orites is expected to save Cyprus from a hefty EU fine on CO2 emissions and will help the island meet its quota of 6% renewable energy production in 2010.

The project will contribute significantly to the Government’s target of producing 13% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. It also represents 27% of the required installed wind energy capacity of 300MW by 2020. The implementation of the project was mindful of environmental aspects and is bringing together know-how from leading EU companies including Vestas and Siemens.

“Financing the first renewable energy project in Cyprus was an exciting challenge and we are delighted to have helped secure the first wind project on the island,” said Thomas Rottner of Platina Partners.

“As well as being an important milestone in the continuing expansion of Platina’s European renewable energy portfolio, the success in financing Orites in tight debt markets demonstrates that credit is still available for the best projects.”

Future of renewable energy finance

EIB Vice-President, Plutarchos Sakellaris, spoke of the future of the bank’s financing of renewable energy projects.

“Orites is the largest and most advanced wind farm in Cyprus. It paves the way for further developments in the sector, and brings the Cypriot Government closer to its target and EU’s objective for renewable energy production,” he said.

“The EU objective for renewable energy will be a major challenge, as the required investment could be in the order of €600-700b up to 2020. We at the EIB are ready to play a strong and active role in supporting the Member States’ efforts with adequate funding and adapted finance products.”

Cypriot and British business cooperation was highlighted by British Deputy High Commissioner, Brian Olley.

“I welcome the collaboration between Cypriot and UK companies - the sharing of expertise and know how - which has helped make this possible,” he said.

Green initiatives stressed

The launch comes just days after an EU conference on renewable energy took place in Paphos which was attended by key stakeholders from Cyprus and Greece.

Speaking at the conference, the Swedish EU Presidency stressed the need for business to embrace ‘green’ initiatives.

“It is impossible to develop our economies without firm action on climate and the environment,” it said. “A low carbon economy is the only way towards growth.”

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