The Malta Independent 15 October 2021, Friday

Budget 2022: Waste, Energy and Water - €200m to be invested in waste management infrastructure

Giuseppe Attard Monday, 11 October 2021, 21:01 Last update: about 4 days ago

• ‘Repair Centre’ to be introduced to promote reuse mentality • New system for calculating electricity bill to be introduced • First reverse osmosis plant to operate from Gozo

The government plans to build on the positive results the EcoHive group of projects has achieved given that the year 2021 was the best year in terms of recycling in its 19 years of existence.

The waste-to-energy plant which forms part of the EcoHive project will receive the biggest investment during this budget, with a total of around €200 million invested. Through this investment, the government is looking to improve the existing infrastructure the company has and look at proper planning for the future.

In collaboration with local councils, the government is also planning to introduce ‘smart bins’ in localities, which will be under constant surveillance. These smart bins will help commercial entities separate waste at any time of the day.

The government is also going to invest in a new facility to be known as a ‘Reuse Centre’, which has the sole purpose of recycling toys, ceramic objects, books and also furniture in order to change the mentality of recycling and reusing.

Possible plans for a ‘Repair Centre’ are also being considered, where certain objects brought in as bulky waste will be evaluated, and where possible repaired in order for them to be sold or exchanged.

 

Energy

Due to the increase in electricity demand, works on the second interconnector cable between Malta and Sicily have begun and the studies for the route the cable will take are set to intensify throughout 2022.

The studies will include details pertaining to maritime studies, geological studies, geotechnical and environmental studies.

The government said that the increase of electrical demand can be narrowed down to three main factors; economic growth, the increase in electric vehicles and the shore-to-ship facilities.

Cleaner sources of energy are also being studied by the government, especially when it comes to hydrogen power. During the year 2022, studies with regard to hydrogen will be undertaken, which will identify the issues with the infrastructure and financial aspects of transporting hydrogen.

An increased investment in the distribution network of Enemalta is also part of the government’s plans moving forward. Part of the investment included an increased automation system for the network.

Since 2013, ARMS has been using the same formula for calculating electricity, with only the tariffs being changed. The government said that it is aware of concerns and is pledging to introduce a new system for calculating electricity bills.

Through this new system, electricity consumers can save up the cheaper units that they do not use in order to make use of them during the periods of higher consumption. The message is to promote sustainable use of electricity in accordance with the national plan for decarbonisation. This system also ensures that there would be no loss in the feed-in tariff and there would not be any losses in the Eco-Reduction.

 

Water

After a €11 million investment, the first reverse osmosis plant will start to operate in Hondoq ir-Rummien, Gozo. This will form part of the New Water network which will also be extended.

The New Water network will also be benefitting from an improved drainage system in the north and south of Malta, in order to improve the maritime environment around the areas. Works being carried out in the drainage system in Sant Antnin have reached the final stages and tests are being carried out.

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