Green Party Against Liquid Gas for Cyprus
The Cyprus Green Party is against the introduction of liquid natural gas as an alternative energy source because renewable energy such as wind, solar and wave power are cleaner and use existing natural resources, said party leader Georgios Perdikis speaking to CyprusNewsReport.com.
Although the Greens have expressed their concerns over the use of natural gas on the island, the minister of commerce has not changed the ministry's plans to go ahead with the building of a gas processing plant and the choosing of a preferred gas supplier.
"Petroleum and liquid natural gas are the same thing, you are burning fossil fuels. We spoke to the minister but they will not change their minds," said Perdikis.
The MP asked why taxpayers should invest 10 billion euros in buying liquid natural gas (LNG) and building a gas terminal when there is ample wave power, wind power and solar energy available.
"We should stay with petrol for the next few years and build renewable energy plants," he said, adding that "we are not for this (liquid natural gas).
The government is expected to make a decision on a 20-year, 6-billion euro contract for a preferred supplier of LNG and meanwhile, the Electricity Authority is putting out a tender for offers to build a land-based gas processing terminal along the Limassol coast. According to Minister of Commerce Antonis Paschalides, LNG would be good for the people and environment of Cyprus.
But many environmental groups are against LNG. In Israel, it recently emerged that there is a possibility that the planned Cyprus terminal would also be used by Israeli gas companies to process natural gas found in undersea reserves. This is because the construction of a liquid natural gas processing plant in Israel is facing fierce opposition from environmentalists.
According to Israeli press reports, Israel would avoid polluting its own environment and may cancel plans to build a gas terminal and use Cyprus' planned facility instead. Israeli business publication 'Globes' reported that there is strong opposition to the construction of a land terminal, and one project has already been cancelled along the Dor coast area. Environmental groups and residents resisted the plant being built, said the report.
The article says that Cyprus' tender for the plant specifies a 250-acre site and would cost 4-6 billion dollars to build.
LNG 'Significant Air Pollution Source'
Natural gas power and LNG processing plants are "significant air pollution sources, releasing hazardous air pollutants and fine particulate matter," according to the energy publication and activist network Energy Justice Network.
Although natural gas is often promoted as cleaner than coal, it has its own serious environmental hazards, says EJN.
"Natural gas releases the greenhouse gas methane, which ton for ton, traps 25 times more heat than carbon dioxide," according to EJN.
Liquefied gas is produced when natural gas is cooled to -162 Centigrade, a process which Greenpeace describes as 'energy-intensive'. When combined with emissions from natural gas used as an energy source, the fossil fuel has the potential to increase greenhouse gases by 20-40 percent.
Cyprus already has a poor track record for controlling emissions. In March last year, the European Commission sent Cyprus a final warning on dangerous airborne particles called PM10 which are emitted by industry, traffic and domestic heating and can cause serious health problems.
PM10 particles are 10 micrometres or less and are small enough to enter the lungs, causing asthma, cardiovascular problems, lung cancer and premature death. In November 2010, the EC decided to take Cyprus, Italy, Spain and Portugal to the European Court of Justice for not complying with EU air pollution rules.