The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

Public funding schemes for renewable energy projects are ‘welcome’ – Friends of the Earth

Jake Aquilina Thursday, 29 July 2021, 07:48 Last update: about 3 months ago

Public funding schemes which encourage shift to more renewable energy resources when it comes to produces and consumption are welcome, and more of such schemes should be introduced in order to encourage this shift, Director of Friends of the Earth Malta, Martin De Giovanni told The Malta Independent.

Malta is adjusting to the realities of the need for more green energy to be produced. On Tuesday, a €26 million investment, over the span of 20 years, was allocated for a large-scale renewable energy project in which investors have a “golden opportunity” to show their interest, Minister for Energy and Enterprise Miriam Dalli announced.

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Given this announcement, The Malta Independent spoke to De Giovanni to see what the reaction from environmental NGOs is. The director of the NGO said that this shift must be of utmost importance now for the Government, as less polluting modes of energy production needs to take place.

“A shift to renewable energies must be prioritized, with a phasing out of fossil-fuel dependency, hence public funding schemes such as these are very welcome,” De Giovanni said.

However, he remarked that more funding schemes should be introduced so that even the public can join the cause. “Additional funds should also be made available for community energy cooperations, in which the public can invest in communal energy schemes (e.g. solar on large roofs of industrial estates, schools, government buildings, etc),” he noted.

The director called for the democratisation of the energy sector, and this should be done by refining legislative frameworks.

“Friends of the Earth Malta believes that the supply of energy needs to be democratised and community energy initiatives supported. This would mean amendments to the legislative framework that limits the supply of electricity to a single provider (ie Enemalta) and hence precludes the possibility of the adoption of energy communities,” he said.

De Giovanni also pointed out that it might be dangerous to expect energy levels in the country to continue growing exponentially, as it could prove to be an issue if Malta is to reach carbon neutrality at some point, as per EU frameworks as well. In this regard, Malta should work to encourage less energy consumption, he said.

“The overall assumption that energy demand will continue to grow is problematic. If Malta aims to reach carbon neutrality, the reduction in energy use per capacity must also be prioritised,” he observed.

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