The Malta Independent 14 April 2024, Sunday
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€7.5M Green Mobility Scheme launched to bring Malta closer to EU climate neutrality goals

Kyle Patrick Camilleri Tuesday, 26 March 2024, 16:34 Last update: about 18 days ago

The Ministry for the Economy, Enterprise and Strategic Projects, alongside Malta Enterprise, has launched the Green Mobility Scheme with the aim of supporting the transition towards more sustainable transportation. The scheme has a total budget of €7.5 million.

The Green Mobility Scheme has two main focuses of support: the investing in recharging infrastructure (targeted at vehicles "integral" to business activity) and the leasing of clean or zero-emission vehicles.

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Eligible applicants must be registered with the Malta Business Registry, have at least five full-time employees, operate from properly licenced commercial premises, and be eligible to receive aid under the facilitation of the EU's General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER).

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said that this is just one of many government schemes that are working together to boost the economy and environment sectors. Another example of such initiatives is the Freeport's shore-to-ship project, he said. He also said that the government's mentality was and is centred around assisting people and industries, and mentioned the importance of Maltese and Gozitan families having a better quality of life.

"This scheme will support industry and will help us reach established targets," Minister Schembri stated.

Green Mobility Scheme: Charging Infrastructure

Businesses interested in investing in charging infrastructure can receive aid via an interest rate subsidy that covers 100% of the interest paid in the first three years of the issued loan and/or a tax credit given as a percentage of the eligible costs incurred. The tax credit may only be given if such an investment is carried out through a business' own funds.

For this purpose, the given aid is understood to be for the "procurement, installation, and commissioning of private recharging infrastructure with smart recharging functionalities required to recharge industrial vehicles owned by the same undertaking."

The maximum amount of aid that can be given to an applicant entity depends on their size. For investment projects in a non-assisted area, small applicants can receive up to 50% support, medium-sized applicants can receive up to 40% support, and large applicants can receive up to 20% support. For investment projects in assisted areas, these percentages each increase by 5% respectively, i.e., maximum aid increases to 55% for small applicants, 45% for medium-sized applicants, and 25% for large applicants. This maximum aid can come in the form of support from Malta Enterprise via either the absolute three-year interest subsidy or the tax credit or a combination of both, as long as the maximum aid limit is not exceeded once combined.

The eligible investment costs that an applicant can use this scheme for is split into four categories. The first type of investment costs is related to the "construction, installation, upgrade or extension of recharging or refuelling infrastructure." The second type relates to technical equipment and the installation of/upgrades to electrical or other components (including electrical cables and power transformers) that are "required for connecting the recharging or refuelling infrastructure to the grid or to a local electricity or hydrogen production or storage unit."

The third kind relates to "civil engineering works, land or road adaptations, installation costs and costs for obtaining related permits for the infrastructure." The final category relates to the onsite production of renewable electricity or renewable hydrogen, and of the related required storage unit.

Green Mobility Scheme: Lease of Commercial Vehicles

The second half of the Green Mobility Scheme relates to the leasing of "clean" commercial vehicles. This refers to vehicles that are either at least partially powered by either electricity or hydrogen, or are zero-emission vehicles.

Minister Schembri said that "one of the main problems for climate change is the amount of emissions emerging from private transport vehicles", and with the EU set to ban the sales of new fossil-fuel powered cars in 2035, this part of the Green Mobility Scheme should help bring the Maltese islands up to speed in transitioning towards greener means of private transport, he added.

For this leasing, applicants may receive aid through the form of a tax credit that will cover the extra cost of leasing the clean/zero-emission vehicles in comparison to a vehicle of the same category in compliance with present EU standards. This aid can cover a period of up to 36 months; such vehicles, upon approval, are to be leased for a period of at least 12 months.

The maximum aid eligible for applicants depends on their size, and different percentages are provided on the basis of whether the leased vehicle is a "clean" one or whether they are zero-emission vehicles. Small-sized applicants may receive up to 50% for clean vehicles and up to 60% for zero-emission vehicles; the respective percentages for medium-sized applicants are 40% and 50%, while large applicants can receive tax credits of up to 20% and 30% respectively.

The tax credit is calculated via a formula that takes the difference between the monthly costs of a standard and the clean/zero-emissions vehicle, multiplies this difference by the lease duration, and then inserts the respective percentage that is dependent on the size of the applicant and the type of commercial vehicles they wish to lease.

Applications for the Green Mobility Scheme must be submitted by 30 September 2026 and the scheme officially closes on 30 December 2026. There are two different applications - one for the investment in charging infrastructure and a separate application for the leasing. The scheme is subject to close before its deadline of 30 September 2026 if the total €7.5 million budget is used up.

For further information on this scheme, one may contact Malta Enterprise via e-mail through the address <[email protected]> or they can visit their website: www.maltaenterprise.com.


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