Cyprus: EIB backs EUR 245 million of new energy and connectivity investment in 2020, including fibre-optic internet roll-out by Epic Telecom
- Energy transition support includes Vasilikos power plant and gas import facility
- New financing to expand Epic broadband network
- Cyprus largest beneficiary of EIB engagement in Europe relative to GDP
New European Investment Bank financing for priority investment in Cyprus last year totalled EUR 245 million.
2020 represented the fifth largest support for transformational projects in 40 years of EIB engagement in the country. This included support for new energy investment to reduce carbon emissions and help to reduce electricity bills, and backing for new investment to expand access to high-speed internet services.
Cyprus benefits from the largest EIB support, per capita, of any country in Europe with outstanding EIB exposure totalling EUR 2.7 billion, or 13% of national GDP.
The EIB’s annual results for Cyprus were confirmed earlier today during a virtual press conference, alongside the formal announcement of a EUR 19 million loan agreement with Epic to accelerate broadband network deployment.
Constantinos Petrides, Minister of Finance and EIB Governor, Kyriacos Kokkinos, Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy and Lilyana Pavlova, EIB Vice President responsible for lending operations in Cyprus highlighted the impact of new EIB engagement and outlined the focus of future support. Thanos Chronopoulos, CEO of Epic and Martin Peronnet, CEO of Monaco Telecom, detailed the expected impact of new broadband investment in Cyprus and the benefits of increased connectivity seen elsewhere in Europe.
“The EIB has consistently been one of the most important and reliable partners of Cyprus for the past decades. The EIB’s continuous commitment to our country in times of crisis was once again evident as three of the measures announced by the Government to support the economy relate to EIB support. We therefore would like to ask the EIB to maintain its lending volumes at today’s level and keep supporting the public and private sector of Cyprus, as the country navigates through the financial and social implications resulting from the health crisis,” said Constantinos Petrides, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus and Governor of the European Investment Bank.
“2020 represented another strong year for the EIB in Cyprus, with EUR 245 million of new financing for visionary energy investment by Cypriot energy partners to cut carbon emissions and to enable Epic to improve broadband connectivity across Cyprus. The EIB is committed to supporting priority investment in Cyprus and pleased to back Epic’s investment to transform high-speed broadband access in Cyprus. The EIB is currently working closely with private and public partners to unlock new education, affordable housing, innovation and climate action investment in the country,” said Lilyana Pavlova, EIB Vice President.
Improving access to broadband internet with Epic
The EIB today confirmed details of new EUR 19 million long-term financing to Epic to support the roll-out of their Very High Capacity broadband network and related connectivity and IT investment.
“Advanced networks are one of the most fundamental blocks of the EU’s digital transformation and an essential pillar of the recovery, at national and European level. The timely deployment of fibre and 5G networks will create significant economic opportunities for the years to come, as a crucial asset for competitiveness and sustainability and a major enabler for future digital services. In this regard, I would like to thank EIB but also to congratulate both EIB and Epic for jointly engaging in this highly important initiative aimed at boosting high-capacity broadband connectivity throughout Cyprus. The long-standing engagement of the European Investment Bank in Cyprus has been and will continue to be instrumental in fostering sustainable and inclusive growth, creating an enabling environment that accelerates a successful green and digital transition,” Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Kyriacos Kokkinos.
Thousands of businesses and households across Cyprus will benefit from faster internet speeds and access to the Epic Fibre to the Home networks.
“We see ourselves as catalysts for change and growth, our FTTH project is set to radically reshape the digital experience of the Cypriot households and enterprises and accelerate economic growth by providing new opportunities for innovation and productivity. Our ambition is to introduce and lead Cyprus to the gigabit era by providing unparalleled fibre connectivity speeds at a truly affordable value in order to expedite adoption and meet the present and future digital needs of our customers in the modern era. The new EUR 19 million long-term EIB financing will allow Epic to speed up network expansion and transform broadband services in Cyprus,” said Thanos Chronopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of Epic Ltd.
The new EIB backed investment, guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, will allow EPIC customers access to Gigabit digital services and connect both towns and rural areas.
“Investment to improve broadband speeds is essential for competitiveness, business services and social life. Across Europe COVID-19 travel restrictions, working from home and lockdowns have highlighted the need to further scale up network investment and unlock digital innovation. The first ever EIB support for Epic will ensure that Cyprus is better connected in the years to come.” said Martin Peronnet, Chief Executive Officer of Monaco Telecom, parent company of Epic Ltd.
The new investment will also help to improve ultrafast broadband access, which currently lags behind the EU average.
Accelerating energy transition in Cyprus and cutting carbon emissions
Last year EIB support for energy transition in Cyprus included EUR 150 million backing for construction of a new LNG Terminal and EUR 76 million, guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, to support construction of a new power plant at Vasilikos in Cyprus by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus.
“The European Investment Bank is supporting energy transition in Cyprus and around the world. As part of its Energy Lending Policy agreed in 2019, the EIB supported a pipeline of gas projects already under appraisal, before moving to renewables-only lending from the end of 2021. The EIB looks forward to working together with energy project partners to support future clean energy investment in Cyprus.” added Lilyana Pavlova, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending operations in Cyprus.
The new LNG terminal will enable Cyprus to replace use of heavy fuel oil for power generation with natural gas, cut energy prices and reduce carbon emissions by at least 30%.
The new 160 MW CCGT Vasilikos power plant will be the most efficient gas power plant in Cyprus and
enable a shift away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution, and provide flexibility to allow greater use of intermittent wind and solar power in Cyprus in the future.
The new Vasilikos power plant is expected to generate absolute carbon emissions of 380 gCO2 / kWh,
within the European Investment Bank’s energy generation emission performance standard of 550 gCO2 / kWh in place when the project was approved.
Since the EIB board approved the two energy projects signed in 2020 the EIB has introduced a new Energy Lending Policy that will end all financing for unabated fossil-fuel power generation by the end of 2021.