The environment ministry has confirmed it is working on a ‘framework’ for floating wind farms at sea.

It said studies are underway to identify the ideal zones for the development of offshore farms, according to risk levels and wind speeds.

“Tapping into this sector can provide significant socio-economic opportunities including the creation of green jobs and improved local value chains,” the ministry said on Monday.

It said it had for the past months been working to develop “an enabling framework for floating offshore renewable energy”.

Studies are underway to identify low, medium and high-risk zones and to identify wind speeds and other variables, “crucial for the implementation of such projects and for prospective economic operators”, a ministry spokesperson said.

“In parallel, the ministry for finance issued a preliminary market consultation to receive submissions for economic activities within Malta’s exclusive economic zone.”

During a Times of Malta event about the budget last month, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana described Malta’s huge continental shelf as a massive opportunity for offshore wind farms.

At one point he painted a picture of a future Malta as an offshore energy powerhouse and cited the growing interest in offshore wind turbine-generated energy, hinting that plans may be underway for a project of the sort.

The development of wind turbines off the coast has been on and off the agendas of all recent administrations for at least two decades, since the dawn of a looming global warming threat began to hit the world.

Over the years, all political parties pledged research and feasibility studies into what would be a massive project.

Both Labour and the PN promised to develop offshore farms and AD had even suggested shipyard workers would be competent enough to build the turbines.

No concrete plans ever materialised, however. Now, as the unprecedented energy crisis continues to hit Europe hard and the EU’s Green Deal keeps pushing member states to invest in clean, renewable energy in a bid to fight the climate crisis, Malta may be the closest it has ever been to experience some winds of change.

“The ongoing energy crisis confirms the need to continue investing in this sector, strengthen our security of supply and diversification of sources,” a ministry spokesperson said.

Last week, during an EUFores workshop, Environment Minister Miriam Dalli reiterated Malta’s vision to accelerate investment and facilitate the development of such technologies, the spokesperson added.

“The Maltese government will continue working hard to increase our share of renewables and incentives for businesses and households, to promote a switch to energy-efficient operations and renewable energy models.”

Labour pledged to work with the private sector to develop offshore floating wind and solar renewable energy projects in this year’s election manifesto.

The first offshore wind farm in history was erected in 1991 off the coast of Denmark but the first turbines in the Mediterranean started to spin only last March, off the southern coast of Italy.

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