The Malta Independent 29 February 2020, Saturday

Alfred Sant’s project for island renewable energy action included in EP budget

Thursday, 24 October 2019, 16:06 Last update: about 5 months ago

A proposal submitted by MEP Alfred Sant for an Action aimed at assisting local island authorities to tender for renewable energy projects has made it to the European Parliament’s Budget proposals for 2020.

This builds up on Sant’s earlier project proposal for the established `Clean Energy for EU Islands secretariat’, a statement issued by the MEP's office said.

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Sant voted in favour of the EP Report on the Council Position for the draft general budget of the EU for the financial year 2020 that included Sant’s pilot project proposed together with Croatian S&D MEP Toninu Picula. In a formal explanation of vote, Dr Sant stated that he believed that the EP proposals are putting forward a strong budget in areas that urgently need it.

The aim of Sant’s project is to teach island authorities and communities to submit competitive open tenders that are usually open for private clean energy companies particularly in the solar, wind, storage and district heating/cooling sectors.

The project first passed the evaluation by the European Commission, and eventually went through the Budget Committee vote as a Preparatory Action before going through the European Parliament plenary vote. The project is now subject to the conclusion of trilogue negotiations between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament. The allocated commitment for Sant’s project is 2 million EUR for the year 2020.

Falling renewable energy costs and increasing numbers of clean energy providers open the doors for EU islands’ transition towards clean energy. In this regard, the Action proposed by Sant would aim to provide authorities, especially small local authorities, information on how to write, evaluate, deliver and maintain tenders, the statement said.

In his explanation of vote, Sant also expressed support for the EP’s proposal to increase the money committed for the Connecting Europe facility in the background of interoperability of electricity and gas networks across borders as well as to end energy isolation. This goes in line with the amendments that Dr Sant tabled in the Budget Committee.

Sant noted that his proposal for a Pilot Project dedicated to providing administrative, technical and other back-up support for the preparation and submission of tenders for renewable energy projects goes in line with the need to securing affordable clean energy for all Europeans.

“It is good that this proposal is also being included in the EP’s report. More EU resources need to pour towards ending the isolation of islands when it comes to their energy needs,” stated Sant.

Sant expressed satisfaction to have positively contributed to this process and looks forward to the results of the negotiations with the Commission and the Council with a view to delivering a good budget for next year.

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