Owners of electric cars will be charged lower rates for electricity as of next year, as part of the government’s push to encourage adoption of electric vehicles.
As of January 1, owners of such cars will pay 12.98c per unit of electricity when they charge their car at home.
Existing benefits given to those who buy an electric car or environmentally-friendly appliances such as PV panels will be retained, and work will begin to make it mandatory for fuel stations to install charging points for all electric vehicles.
The measures are among a series of measures introduced in Budget 2020 with an eye towards climate change.
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said that Malta was targeting 2050 as the year when it would have achieved carbon neutrality, and the government would be unveiling a strategy to that effect next year.
Early adopters of photovoltaic panels whose contract to sell electricity into the grid is now coming to an end will be offered a €1,000 grant to help cover the cost of buying a battery storage system.
Home-installed batteries allow people to store electricity generated by their PV panels.
Single-use plastics ban
In line with EU plans, Malta will ban the production and importation of a range of single-use plastic products as from January 1 next year, including bags, cutlery, straws and plates. The sale and distribution of such products will be banned from January 1, 2022.
Shop owners will also be given a grant of up to €3,000 to cover up to half of their expenses when they set up ‘green corners’ where products can be sold by weight or volume, without packaging.
The first bottle-return machines will also be installed in shops by the end of the year, with the much-vaunted scheme fully operational next year.
Cleaner heavy machinery
Contractors will be offered grants of up to €200,000 when they replace their heavy machinery with less polluting and less noisy models.
The vehicle scrappage scheme will be retained.
Environmental NGOs filing appeals against development projects will have objection fees capped at €1,000.
A plan for the phasing out of the importation of petrol and diesel cars will be announced next year. One of the key challenges policymakers face is working out how to replace revenue it currently receives from duty on fuels.
Roofed-over Santa Venera tunnels
The government will next year start work on doubling the Ta’ Qali national park and on roofing the area leading down to the Santa Venera tunnels, turning it into one of Malta’s biggest urban open spaces.
That project, however, is structurally complex and will not be completed within 12 months.
An old former landfill between Marsa and Luqa will be ‘demined’ and become a sport and enterprise zone, incorporating a new ground for Valletta FC.
Environment: What the analysts think
“In line with global efforts, the Government is committed to curbing plastic use and to reducing the emissions. Single-use plastic will be banned from January 2021 whilst a date has been set for the introduction of the container refund system. On the emission front, there appears to be a sustained effort to increase the take-up of electric cars and the combustion engine ban will be an important development. The introduction of cheaper electricity tariffs for electric car owners is a much welcome development. Investments such as the Ta’Qali park are welcome, however more effort needs to be undertaken to green our localities and ensure that green lungs between towns and villages are protected.”
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