PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR ENERGY AND WATER MANAGEMENT: Our objective is to be at the forefront of new energy technology solutions

Minister for Energy and Water Management Joe Mizzi said that our objective as a country is to be at the forefront of new energy technology solutions, such as in the field of electricity storage solutions which are bound to become an essential element for the further integration of renewable electricity.

During his address at the 2nd Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum, which is currently being held in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, Minister Mizzi pointed out that islands require tailor-made solutions, and it is only by continuing this joint effort and sharing of best practices at all levels that countries will be able to achieve this strong sense of an island community and support each other towards a cleaner energy transition.

Being an island, Malta faces quite a number of issues in the energy sector, which can mainly be reduced to (i) security of upply, (ii) achieving sustainable goals, and (iii) our future energy potential. Given that Malta is in the periphery of the EU, we sought to strengthen our security of supply through diversification of our energy sources, whilst at the same time improving our sustainability goals, moving away from the use of heavy fuel oil to generate electricity, towards the use of LNG, said Minister Mizzi during his address.

This diversification strategy and sustainability is enhanced through our electricity interconnector with mainland Europe, and now we are also developing a natural gas pipeline with our neighbour, Italy. This pipeline will end Malta’s gas isolation and it is recognised as one of the top priority energy interconnection projects within the EU.

He also said that whilst the government understands that natural gas is still required to keep our lights on, the country has also sustained a decarbonisation strategy which supports the deployment of cost-effective energy efficiency measures and renewable energy sources. We have launched several incentives targeted at citizens for the uptake of solar water heaters and solar panels, and have also launched a communal farm project, which provides the opportunity for households with no access to a suitable rooftop to invest in solar panels. These measures ensure that Malta remains on track to reach its 2020 Renewable Energy target.

He continued to explain that such schemes, together with other incentives in the performance of buildings, and schemes targeting energy efficiency of appliances in households, continue to play an important role in achieving our environmental goals and ensure that our households continue to benefit from one of the lowest electricity tariffs in the EU. Similarly, the government has also increased incentives to encourage the uptake of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Notwithstanding this holistic energy strategy, we do have challenges, the biggest of which being the limited space coupled with the highest population density within the EU. This restricts the deployment of land intensive renewable energy sources. Whilst innovative technology may not necessarily tick the ‘cost-effectiveness’ box, Malta is open to act as a test base for the deployment of pilot projects which seek to develop solutions specific to small islands.

Minister Mizzi concluded by saying that in this context, Malta is already embracing the opportunities brought about through disruptive technologies such as blockchain, having organised one of the largest blockchain summits a few weeks ago.

Source: Government of Malta