Malta increasing its efforts to address energy efficiency

“Malta is increasing its efforts to address energy efficiency, and the Energy and Water Agency within the Ministry for Energy and Water Management is not only launching incentive schemes for energy efficiency measures, but also placing great efforts to drive investment in this area and to make sure that industry includes energy efficiency measures in investment plans.”

Minister for Energy and Water Management Joe Mizzi said this during a conference as part of the Odyssee-Mure Project, a project aimed at the European-wide coordination of energy parameters and statistics, required for developing policy measures and benchmarks.

Minister Mizzi said that the past few decades have seen a growing consciousness about the importance of ensuring that citizens and businesses have access to affordable, sustainable, and reliable sources of energy. He spoke about economic growth and said that for decades, this has led to an increasing demand for energy which often depends on unsustainable sources, such as fossil fuels. “This trend cannot continue unchecked without leaving irreversible damage to the global ecosystem. The recent decoupling between carbon emissions and GDP growth within the European Union is a positive development, and the support to the Paris Agreement and its targets serve as a goal for the policy makers of the Union.”

The Minister stated that Malta, being a small and, until recently, completely isolated energy system, realized that it had to address its heavy dependence on oil, and the structural inefficiencies which were keeping energy prices well above average.

“It became evident that these challenges could be turned into opportunities, provided the right strategy was put in place. The solution found was multifaceted and included an overhaul of the generation system, increasing its efficiency to bring it up to international standards, an electricity interconnection and in the future, a gas interconnection, a switch from fuel oil to natural gas, and extensive support for the deployment of photovoltaic panels and energy efficiency schemes.”

Minister Mizzi said that the improvement in the operational efficiency resulting from the new gas-fired generating plant, the planned switch to gas from fuel oil of the recently built Delimara 3 plant, the closing down of the old Marsa Power Station, the ongoing and planned investments in the distribution and transmission networks; as well as the possibility to access the European electricity market via the now completed electricity interconnector with Sicily, will together provide for a cleaner and more sustainable energy with a lower carbon footprint.  This has also led to a turnaround in the financial situation of Enemalta plc, providing peace of mind not just for investors in the energy sector, but also those in all other economic sectors which depend on Enemalta for a reliable and cost-effective supply of electricity.

He also said that investment in renewable energy is very important in Malta if incentivized through appropriate support mechanisms which ensure that Malta’s potential is reaped without excessive pressure on public finances or consumer tariffs.  “Malta’s strategy in this field is to maintain a steady growth which ensures that the industry flourishes steadily rather than creating a ‘bubble’ in the sector which would severely damage the industry once it bursts,” he concluded.

About the Odyssee-Mure Project

The Odyssee-Mure is an EU funded Horizon 2020  project, with the main objective being of providing a comprehensive monitoring of energy consumption and efficiency trends, as well as an evaluation of Energy Efficiency policy measures by sector for EU Countries and Norway.

In operational terms, the project is coordinated by French Energy Agency ADEME with the technical support of EnerdataFraunhoferISINNOVA and ECN.  In this regard, ADEME relies on the input from the relevant authorities in the respective Member States to gather the necessary data. In Malta’s case ADEME’s contact point is the Energy and Water Agency within the Ministry for Energy and Water Management.

In more specific terms, the project manages two complementary databases:

Odyssee: managed by Enerdata, which contains detailed energy efficiency and CO2-indicators with data on energy consumption, their drivers (activity indicators) and their related CO2-emissions; and

Mure: managed by ISINNOVA, that contains a description, with their impact evaluation whenever available, of all energy efficiency measures implemented at EU or national level.

The project has proved to be a success, in that it provides a useful tool in assisting Member States to plan national Energy Efficiency policy, measure its effectiveness, and allow for comparative analysis with other EU Member States.

Today’s event is a biannual event which is hosted in the respective Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, and brings together the relevant key stakeholders for workshop discussions.