Malta will be starting the process of installing a second interconnector between Malta and Ragusa in Sicily, Energy Minister Miriam Dalli announced today.
Addressing a press conference this afternoon, the minister said the plans had been approved by the cabinet earlier today.
The new interconnector is expected to come online by 2025 and will have a capacity of 200MW, Dalli said. The new interconnector would be costing the country €170 million.
She added that a number of locations had been considered, including Greece, but a second connection to Ragusa, Sicily, was ultimately decided would be the cheapest and most technically feasible option.
The decision to go for a second interconnector had been taken in light of the increasing demand for energy, Dalli said.
She noted that between 2014 and 2018 Malta had experienced an 18% increase in the demand for energy, mainly a result of the increased economic activity on the island.
This demand, she said, was expected to continue increasing as the country emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to increased demand as a result of economic activity, the increased use of electric cars, as well as the need to power an ever-increasing number of ships arriving in Malta’s ports, were also factors in the decision.
Dalli insisted that the government’s decision to go for a second interconnector was a well-studied decision, that would see Malta increasing its energy generation capacity.
The second interconnector is expected to result in a 58% reduction in CO2 emissions.
Various funding methods, including access to EU funds, were being considered, Dalli said, adding that a tender for the construction of the interconnector would soon be issued.
Over the years, she said, Malta had undergone a revolution in the energy sector. The government would continue working in this direction, she said.
As things stand, Enemalta is contractually obliged to purchase all the energy produced by Electrogas’ LNG-fired power station.
Asked what the increase in energy demand was expected to be by 2025 and how much of the energy produced by the second interconnector is expected to be used by that point, Dalli said that the demand was set to increase and that Malta wanted “to be prepared”.
“If something happens to one of our plants or the interconnector we would end up in a situation where we are unable to produce enough electricity for the country to keep going,” Dalli said.
She reiterated that the demand was expected to increase, but did not specify by how much it was expected to increase and whether the increase would be enough for Malta to need to use both interconnectors and its LNG-fired power station.
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