An Energy Union factsheet about Malta’s activities has shed some light on the advances the country is making when it comes to electricity and fuel, as well as pointing out some areas that Malta is slipping in.
The factsheet from the European Commission has some key findings, most incredibly noting that over half of Malta’s energy is used on transport, as well as some good and bad findings when it comes to renewable energy.
1. Malta is on track to reach its 10% renewable energy target for 2020.
Malta met its 2013/2014 trajectory, and is actually above its 2015/2016 trajectory. Malta’s renewable energy generation went from 0% to 4% between 2010 and 2015, due to a combination of tariffs and investment grants, as well as enjoying a good climate for solar based renewables, and the Commission predicts Malta will be able to hit the 10% goal in less than two years.
2. Malta still sorely underuses renewable energy
With a 97% use of petroleum and products, Malta’s energy mix is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Malta ranks poorly when it comes to other EU countries’ energy mixes, though the commission of the gas-fired plant in 2017 did help diversify Malta’s mix.
3. The electricity interconnector with Italy installed in 2015 is paying off
2015 was the end of Malta’s isolation from Europe’s electricity board, and this led to a increase from 0% to 24% in Malta’s interconnection level as well as lowered costs all around.
4. Retail prices for electricity in Malta are cheaper than the EU average
Malta’s household electricity is nearly one quarter cheaper than the rest of the European Union, in part due to regulated retail tariffs becoming cheaper since 2013.
5. Malta remains nearly fully dependent on importing fossil fuels
Malta still relies on fuel sources like petroleum, with Malta doubling spending on this sector between 2006 – 2015. However, since the interconnector with Sicily was installed in 2015, spending went down by 0.73% of Malta’s GDP.
6. It’s harder to keep Maltese homes warm than the rest of Europe
It’s becoming harder and more costly to keep a Maltese home warm throughout the Winter, putting the ‘population at risk of poverty’ into greater peril.
7. Malta has increased GDP while guzzling less crude oil
One of the main factors for this is increased efficiency of Maltese power plants as well as the interconnector with Italy.
8. However, Maltese households are using more energy than ever
There was 3% increase in “final energy consumption” since 2015, which means that places like your home, as well as shops and offices are using more energy than in previous years.
9. Transport alone uses up over half of Malta’s energy
Transport guzzles through 54.4% of Malta’s entire final energy consumption amount. This is due to widespread traffic and congestion, and the low use of public transport.
10. Maltese households use less energy than most EU households
Malta’s warmer weather means that Maltese households need to spend less throughout the year to heat them. That said, more energy efficiency measures for households were recommended to minimise the use of air conditioners.
11. Malta’s services sector uses too much energy
Malta’s services sector – one of Malta’s fastest growing economic sectors – uses up 22% of Malta’s energy, well above the EU average of 13.6%. The report recommended a focus in lowering the energy cost of this sector specifically.
12. Malta’s government has quite a few decent programmes
Grant schemes for the replacement of old cars, retrofitting street lighting, incentives for building envelope improvements, tax credits for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology and a grant for solar water heaters were all praised by the report.
13. The government has an “ambitious” transport strategy for 2050.
It aims to tackle road congestion and climate change and features plans for intelligent transport systems, infrastructure works, and incentives for behavioural change.
14. Malta has the lowest emissions per capita in the EU
With that said, Malta will most probably miss out on its 2020 targets by an 11pps margin due to an increase in transport emissions as well as Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), commonly found in refrigerators.
15. CO2 emissions from transport have gone up astronomically by 95.7% since 1990
Greenhouse gas emissions have also increased, meaning Malta will likely fail to reach its 2020 emission targets. The report hopes that one way of lowering this rate will be through older cars being replaced by new, more energy efficient cars.
16. Alternative fuel cars make up below 0.04% of the Maltese market
This abysmal number peaked in 2014, when 0.33% of the cars sold in Malta were electric – 21 cars. The report recommends an increase in the number of charging ports around the island, which was 36 charging points in 2016.
17. The only indigenous energy Malta produces is from renewable sources
Regardless of what successive administrations have said, no-one has yet found any Maltese oil. The only energy Malta produces is from renewable sources, and this is less than 3% of total energy.
18. Malta’s air quality is “generally good, with exceptions”
The EU estimated that in Malta in 2013 alone 230 premature deaths were attributable to fine particulate matter concentrations.
19. Air pollution costs Malta €182 million per year
This was calculated by adding up healthcare costs, lost working days due to an illness caused by air pollution, and the intrinsic value of living a healthy full life.
20. The Malta Council for Science and Technology granted nearly €1 million euros
They gave out €940,000 between 2015 and 2017 to projects related to energy and low-carbon technologies through its FUSION programme.
21. Malta’s energy consumption is still very competitive
The real unit energy costs (RUEC) in Malta (8.0) were much below the EU average of 15.3, which is explained through our industries needing very little energy in comparison with most countries, even though the price paid by industrial consumers in Malta is higher than the EU average.
22. Malta’s wind and solar technology is not very strong
Malta performs poorly against the EU average, with very little of the Maltese economy specialising in either wind or solar energy. This gap has been getting larger every year, indicating that Malta is falling behind in the renewables market, as well as keeping the country dependent on foreign fuel.