The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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Chamber of Geologists welcomes offshore energy consultation, but calls document ‘narrow-sighted'

Friday, 1 September 2023, 12:48 Last update: about 11 months ago

The Malta Chamber of Geologists welcomed the public consultation document issued by the Energy and Water Agency within the Ministry for Environment, Energy and Enterprise, but also called the document'narrow-sighted'.

"The Malta Chamber of Geologists has been long campaigning for the utilisation of Malta's vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for Malta's energy needs. The EEZ offers immense potential for the development of natural gas and possibly hydrogen resources which Malta has failed to develop in the past decade, resulting in the country's dependence on imported energy. Nevertheless, the Chamber remarks about the short-sightedness and narrow-sightedness of this public consultation document."

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"The Chamber notes that the document identifies several offshore sites for the development of solar and wind energy without any reference to prior basic knowledge and understanding about seabed geology on which these projects depend for anchorage. The success of these offshore projects depends on the seabed geology and its suitability for such projects, whereas the public consultation document only considers geological aspects after the offshore sites were selected when this geological data gathering, and analysis should have preceded the site selection exercise."

The Chamber reminds the public that "the 'updated' geological map of Malta's land area issued last year by the Continental Shelf Department already contains several and multiple errors and replicates the significant stratigraphical omissions and mapping errors of the past. In the case of both the geological map of Malta and now the public consultation document on offshore sites, the government and its agencies failed to consult the Chamber of Geologists prior to publishing the documents."

The Chamber notes that the public consultation document makes no mention of potential offshore geothermal energy sources which provide a stable and constant supply of energy, but refers only to offshore wind and solar energy projects which are climate-dependent sources of energy when the climate itself is changing and becoming less predictable. "The Chamber reiterates its call for the establishment of a national Geological Service, noting that Malta remains the only European country that lacks a national Geological Service that gathers data on land and seabed geology. This lacuna places Malta and its people at a disadvantage while increasing risks and costs."


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