The government's focus is on increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix, despite having granted an oil and gas exploration licence earlier this week, Energy Minister Miriam Dalli said on Thursday. 

On Wednesday, the finance ministry announced that the government had granted a licence to Albion Energy Malta Ltd to explore for oil and gas south of Malta.

Asked whether this conflicted with the government’s clean energy ambitions Dalli said the government’s focus is on renewables. 

“We are not interested in oil, definitely not for energy production,” she said.

The minister was speaking at a business breakfast on Malta’s energy policy “Malta's Energy Agenda: Making the Green Transition a Reality" organised by the European Commission with Times of Malta.

On renewables, Dalli said that the government is looking at offshore wind and solar power, and a process to invite companies to participate in the sector would be launched this year. 

“I give my word that we will start this process,” she said. 

She said that Malta has already surpassed its 2030 EU renewable energy target of 11.5 per cent, with production at 12.1 per cent according to Eurostat. 

That still places Malta second-from-bottom on the EU charts, however. Only Luxembourg, at 11.7 per cent, generates less of its energy from renewable sources. 

Dalli said that the government's ambition is to go further, with a minimum target of reaching 50 megawatts of renewable energy produced by 2030. 

The war in Ukraine was “a wake-up call” that renewables are needed for energy autonomy and security, she said.  

Dalli joined two other panellists - University of Malta professor Luciano Mule Stagno and Malta Chamber of Geologists president Peter Gatt as they fielded questions from Times of Malta journalist Mark Laurence Zammit and an audience of stakeholders and experts. 

Gatt argued that gas still has a role to play as a “transition fuel” and that Malta could not hope to transition to renewables overnight. 

“There is nothing wrong with Malta exploring for gas,” he added. Many countries in the EU are doing it, he said. 

He said that revenue made from oil sales could be invested in renewable energy.

Commenting on oil exploration, Mule Stagno, who is director at the Institute for Sustainable Energy, said that oil was not only used for energy but could be used for other materials such as road paving and plastic. 

"Plastics are necessary, have many uses and will still be around after 2050," he said. 

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.