The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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Malta and 8 EU countries agree to collaborate in acknowledging the Mediterranean as green energy hub

Thursday, 18 May 2023, 17:03 Last update: about 2 years ago

Malta and eight other EU Mediterranean states have reached a mutual agreement to collaborate in acknowledging the Mediterranean as a hub for green energy, particularly renewable energy.

Ministers and top officials responsible for energy from Malta, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain met in Valletta on Thursday. European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson also joined the meeting.

Representatives of the MED 9 countries signed a joint declaration at the end of the summit. Through the declaration, they confirmed their commitment "to ensure continuous efforts to improve energy security, energy affordability and to accelerate the transition towards renewable energy."

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Together, the nine countries highlighted their aims, such as to accelerate the deployment of energy interconnections with EU member states and regions on the periphery of the EU, to promote joint financing of cross-border projects through available EU funding programmes, and enhance cooperation between countries in the Mediterranean region "to become a hub of green energy corridors through nodes across the southern region," among other things.

In view of this, "we have reached mutual agreement to collaborate in acknowledging the Mediterranean as a hub for green energy, particularly renewable energy," the joint statement read.

During the meeting, Minister Miriam Dalli had said that Mediterranean countries have the potential to be clean energy producers and exporters of cheaper renewable energy to the EU. She also said that "the Mediterranean can serve as a natural transit region for importing low-cost renewable electricity and green gases including hydrogen. Thus, the Mediterranean Region has the potential to become a leading green energy centre."

The joint declaration read that the nine countries will also "actively explore how we could develop cooperations with North Africa in addressing energy transition challenges and solutions, including cooperation in green energy production, storage, and transport/trade."

"The Med region countries are endowed with the ability to generate renewable energy from wind and solar resources. Coupled with the necessary interconnecting infrastructures, the region has the potential to export green energy such as renewable supplied to other geographies such as other EU partners including North Africa," the statement they signed reads.

The potential provides a concrete opportunity for accelerationg Europe's clean energy whilst ensuring security of energy supply, they said, adding that this vision will create opportunities for investment, new job creation and economic growth in the region.

As for the way forward, the nine countries agreed to a number of points. The first, is to invite the European Commission to conduct a comprehensive report to study and investigate the potential of the Mediterranean region in becoming a corridor of green energy transmission between non-EU countries and EU countries.

They also agreed to invite the EU Commission to explore options for a reinforced funding for interconnections between EU and non-EU Mediterranean countries, "especially for countries serving to create these green energy corridors."

They also agreed to identify an "appropriate governance structure to set up a steering committee with the participation of the MED 9 countries, to define a work programme for addressing these goals." This, they said, will serve as a platform to "realise the full potential for the MED region in the energy transition."

They also agreed to coordinate efforts towards the acceleration of cross border permitting of transmission and offshore infrastructure in the regions, and to ensure that none of the MED 9 countries are left behind from the opportunities of such green investments.

At the end of the Med9 conference, Malta's energy minister Miriam Dalli said that the nine countries met as they believe that the Mediterranean has a very important role in the transition to clean energy.

"We believe that with the EU Commission, we can consolidate our efforts for renewable energy to be a main pillar that leads us to climate neutrality," Dalli said.

"We are confirming our ambition to be climate neutral by 2050," she said.

"Today marks our first step to act together and to work harder as the MED9 countries with our Mediterranean partners."

During the meeting, Dalli had also said that Malta is considering floating offshore renewables as the technology "that can help us make the leap needed to ensure a higher share of renewables in our energy mix."

"Malta has carried out a Pre-Market Consultation and we are currently finalising a policy document focusing on the deployment of offshore renewable energy systems. This will then lead to the identification of potential zones for implementing offshore renewable energy and the eventual launch of an Expression of Interest for the first ever floating renewable energy projects."

Fielding questions from the Press, Dalli was asked about Malta's short to medium term plans to reach EU renewable energy targets.

"As a government we saw to it to continue increasing the amount of renewable energy we have through different projects that are primarily related to solar power," she said. She said that the government is also looking at how it can grow this potential.

EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson also addressed the press. She said that the day of the conference was the first anniversary of RepowerEU plan, and that the Mediterranean region played a key role to allow the EU 27 respond to this "extraordinary year of energy crisis and hardships."

"One year on we can say that Putin's attempt to blackmail Europe using energy has failed."


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