The Malta Independent 13 November 2018, Tuesday

Minister Mizzi speaks of major ‘overhaul’ in energy sector

Wednesday, 3 October 2018, 12:32 Last update: about 2 months ago

Minister for Energy and Water Management Joe Mizzi said the Maltese Government has carried out an overhaul in the energy sector, moving away from the use of heavy fuel oil for electricity generation towards the use of LNG in gas-fired power plants.

“My role now as Energy Minister is to look inwards to our shores to guarantee that a shore to ship energy relationship coexists and to establish policies to cater for the needs of the industry. We need to work closely together to find sustainable solutions to make our ports more energy efficient”, he said, during his keynote address at the Malta Maritime Summit.

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Minister Mizzi said the energy sector must be forward-looking and be prepared to embrace technologies that today seem somewhat unreachable such as electrification of vessels for short sea shipping, or hydrogen fuel cells. “All this does not mean that we will shy away from challenges as I strongly believe that challenges will always bring along opportunities. I am fully sensitised to the fact that the shore side has an important role to play in this transition to greener shipping”.

The minister added that the Energy and Water Agency has embarked on a study to identify an optimal infrastructure solution for LNG bunkering for the Island. It will investigate the possible synergies with Malta’s Gas Connection Project of Common Interest. The objective of the study is to establish an informative approach for the future policy developments, introducing LNG bunkering infrastructure and considering the economic and environmental aspects. The outcome of this study shall facilitate the Government’s task in setting up a national policy in this field, with the aim of stimulating LNG uptake as a marine fuel and to attract potential investors in this sector.

Minister Mizzi’s speech focused on the opportunities and challenges of bringing together all the building blocks that govern sustainable maritime transport from the energy perspective which is aimed towards the deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport. 

The minister added that the energy sector must ensure that it not only keeps with this fast pace but supports such developments. Traditional energy infrastructure and the traditional way of thinking are things of the past. From an energy point of view, we need to ensure the availability of new energy sources which will push shipping into a new era.

Minister Mizzi said two years ago was an exciting period for him and his political career, in his previous capacity as the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure. Under his stewardship, the Government had set sail into an all-inclusive and ambitious Presidency transport work programme and successfully achieved important milestones particularly with respect to maritime transport including its environmental aspects. It was a period whereby the maritime sector was not only put on top of the EU political agenda, but it also provided an opportunity for all relevant stakeholder to participate in several public debates on maritime transport, climate change and green shipping. 

“I am proud to say that following Malta’s Presidency of the EU, we left a sound foundation for the EU and its member states to work together to help IMO deliver concrete actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As one of these examples, let me highlight the historic adoption by IMO earlier this year of an initial strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping”.

The adoption of this strategy is extremely important as now there is a clear commitment towards phasing out of GHG emissions from ships. This strategy establishes certainty and a sound direction to policymakers, industry and investors with respect to the levels of ambition including at least a 50 per cent cut in emissions from the sector by 2050.

 

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