The energy sector needs urgent attention not only because of the climate emergency but also for health and economic reasons, Malta’s Green Party said on Saturday.
Addressing the press, ADPD Secretary General, Dr Ralph Cassar said the Government’s ‘bragging’ about subsidies showered on everyone irrespective of consumption was leading to unnecessary waste and was not encouraging a switch to more efficient energy sources.
“The blackout this week when our country was hit by a storm reveals once again how the lack of planning in various areas of infrastructure and the country’s unsustainable economic model means one crisis after another,” Cassar said.
Cassar pointed out that had there been planning by successive governments, today Malta would be enjoying the benefits of renewable energy sources and would not depend so much on imported energy.
He explained that the country should have set up a system of renewable energy cooperatives, meaning all public buildings would be generating the energy they needed by now.
“All industrial roof space and at the very least all new buildings should be generating electricity. Are there any plans for all roof space available to be utilised for energy generation?” he asked.
He referred to the Energy Minister’s recent announcement of a public consultation exercise about offshore wind turbines and called for a detailed explanation of the government’s vision and an explanation of the reasons behind government’s policy.
“An effective consultation exercise leads to better decisions. The document issued by government asks generic questions, akin to questions in a school comprehension exercise,” he said.
“In principle we agree that all sources of renewable energy should be explored and pursued. Government should in fact have started with the low-lying fruit and started from its own roof space, from industrial roof space and eventually by mandating the use of all roof space in the country to generate solar energy. Industrial zones can also host land-based wind turbines,” Cassar said.
According to the National Office of Statistics in 2022, the commercial sector generated 52.0% of total kWp from photovoltaic panels, followed by 45.6% and 2.3% by households and by the public sector respectively.
Public opinion favours renewable sources of energy, including offshore wind turbines, Cassar underlined.
However, for an informed, serious and technical discussion and an effective consultation exercise government should publish all the information and studies on which it is basing its decisions, he said.
ADPD renew calls for 2030 renewable energy target
Cassar also reiterated the Green Party’ call for the generation of at least 50% of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
He pointed out that the government could easily up its target of 11.5% by 2030, as well as increase the €74 million allocated to renewable energy over 20 years, seeing as hundreds of millions were being given in subsidies to everyone regardless of consumption.
In light of this emergency, ADPD also presented a set of proposals to government; among them smart grids which monitor energy flows and demand and adjusts to changes in energy supply and demand, he said.
ADPD Chairperson Sandra Gauci added to this that there is a need for a moratorium on large developments.
“Overdevelopment has meant less natural sinks for rain water and flooded roads. A huge number of buildings also illegally dispose of rainwater in sewers, leading to sewage overflowing out of manholes practically every time it rains.”