The Malta Independent 1 March 2021, Monday

‘We want to be an alternative, even in terms of clean energy’ – PN announces strategy

Jake Aquilina Thursday, 18 February 2021, 12:24 Last update: about 10 days ago

 

The Nationalist Party announced its energy strategy on Thursday morning, based on six pillars and aiming to seek the cheapest source while at the same time providing the best service.

Addressing the media, PN leader Bernard Grech noted that on top of the two measures he announced in the past two weeks – a 10.5c to be given to people for every unit of energy from solar panels instead of 7.5c, and instead of paying 13c to charge electric car as a night tariff, consumers will start paying 10.5c – the Nationalist party announced its strategy for the whole energy sector.

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“Today, with pleasure I am announcing how the country can reach ambitious target in clean energy, which will help us reduce respiratory diseases,” he said.

“What we are presenting today is not the conclusion, but the start of the work, with a number of experts in different sectors. These will address waste, so that they reduce the bills that people pay. We want to become carbon neutral by 2050. It is politics based on the cheapest source.”

Nationalist MP and Energy spokesperson Ryan Callus delved into further detail as to what the energy strategy will entail.

“The National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) by the Government lacks vision. We need to have targets which are ambitious in terms of renewable energy; the demand for energy is increasing exponentially,” Callus said.

The Nationalist MP noted that the European Commission did not give positive feedback to Malta last October on a number of issues. At a target of 11.5% of renewable energy share by 2030, Malta’s level of ambition for renewable energy was dubbed ‘unambitious’ by the Commission, Callus noted.

The plan for energy efficiency was also noted as being ‘very low ambition’, and on greenhouse gas emissions, Malta did not address the recommendations, the energy spokesperson remarked.

“Our energy plan does not depend on one source. It is important due to security of supply, so that if you have a source does not work, the country can still keep the ball rolling.”

 

1.       A cheapest-first supply policy

The Nationalist Party said that it wants to seek the cheapest energy sources , which will drive prices down for families significantly.

“A Nationalist Party in government will do everything in its power to address certain issues, such as those with Electrogas. We want to address the Electrogas deal,” Callus said.

“The interconnector plays a huge role. We have a confirmation from the general auditor, even from the Electrogas report, that said that we paid €10 million extra on a period of half a year only.”

He also noted that in more than 1400 accounts of ARMS, it resulted that 80% of consumers had been billed extra costs, some a few euros and some run into the hundreds.

2.       Energy-efficient first

The PN said it will also invest in future technologies through grants and other schemes , with an increase on grants for heat pumps, domestic batteries.

“Instead of water heater, we will give more help to invest in heat pumps. This will create cheaper bills for households and more competitiveness for industry.”

3.       Hydrogen-ready pipeline

“It is a fact that the government has lost 400 million euros – that is European funding – for the hydrogen pipeline. This is symptomatic of the Governments incompetence,” Callus said.

He promised that a Nationalist government will raise this application again and explore other mode of cleaner energy. 

“Although hydrogen is not a technology for today, plans that will benefit us in 10 to 15 years need to start from now,” he stated.

 

4.       Drive to Electrification of Transport – Public transport

The Nationalist party also said that it wants to invest in electric charging stations for cars. “This also complements the change to electric mass transit system.”

The other measure for this pillar is the one Grech mentioned the week before, which is the reduction of the night tariff for charging electric vehicles.

 

5.       Second interconnection with Europe

“It is essential to secure supply from stable, cheap sources across the EU. There might be EU funds we can tap into; we need to explore this,” Callus said.

He also pointed out that it is important to have this for the intermittency for clean energy.

 

6.       Large scale renewable energy generation

The last pillar the Nationalist party announced is based on investment of floating offshore wind turbines.

“It is currently the most promising future renewable technology now, rapidly reaching commercial maturity.”

The MP also noted that this would generate more green jobs in Malta. He mentioned other countries, such as Scotland and Portugal, who tapped into EU funds and implemented this project. “If we had intelligent politics, we would have tapped into the funds to do this. We lost this opportunity,” he said. 

 

‘Recycled statements without costings and clear aims’ – PL’s reaction to PN energy strategy

 

The PN offered statements which were recycled and have no vision or clear aims to show for, the Labour Party said in reaction to the PN’s energy strategy publicised on Thursday morning.

“That which the Opposition leader announced this morning regarding energy is a collection of ideas, some recycled and others happening right now,” the PL said in a statement.

“The Opposition Leader himself yesterday admitted that he doesn’t know how much these proposals will cost, as in his view, one sees that at the point when they are going to be paid for.”

The PL also believed that “it is clear that the Opposition does not even know how the most basic elements in the sector work.”

The statement also remarked that the Government has been consulting and implementing throughout the years. It also pointed out that the Government has “credibility” in the energy sector because he reduced the water and electricity bills, finished the interconnector and removed heavy fuel oil.  

 

The Opposition “does not have credibility to talk about the subject,” they said. 

 

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