Malta’s Opposition has unveiled its plans for the island’s energy future, with its most eye-catching proposal calling for the construction of wind energy islands off the island’s coast.
PN leader Bernard Grech and Shadow Energy Minister Ryan Callus told a press conference that the plan will help Malta reach its EU targets, which obliges all member states to become carbon neutral by the end of 2050.
Scotland and Portugal have both launched offshore wind farms in recent years, while Denmark recently announced its plans to take a majority stake in a wind energy island proposed in the North Sea. If the PN gets its way, Malta will now follow suit.
Meanwhile, the PN proposed a second interconnector between Malta and Italy and a second shot at securing EU funds for a hydrogen-ready LNG pipeline between the two countries after the first attempt failed.
It also called for a revision in the way ARMS calculates its energy bills, warning the current system – in which charges gradually increase depending on how many electricity units are consumed over a few months – amounts to a blatant robbery.
Instead, they said charges should be calculated over a 12-month period, to ensure bills are based on households’ average annual electricity consumption.
Meanwhile, the PN didn’t commit itself on the fate of the ElectroGas power station in Delimara if it wins the election other than to pledge to review the contract.
The PN has long criticised the LNG project, warning it is tainted by corruption and is resulting in people being charged higher electricity bills, and former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil had pledged to scrap the contract ahead of the 2017 election.
Criticism has only intensified since then, with Matthew Caruana Galizia suggesting his mother Daphne Caruana Galizia could have been assassinated to stop her from publishing a trove of internal ElectroGas documents that had been sent to her a few months before her murder.
In his first parliamentary move as Opposition leader, Grech called for a public inquiry into the ElectroGas deal.
However, the PN has now referred to Auditor General Charles Deguara’s recent confirmation that liability clauses in the ElectroGas contract will force the government to pay the consortium €417 million if it rescinds the deal.
“We do not have a full copy of the contract due to redacted parts but we do know that there is a €400m penalty for rescinding,” a spokesperson said. “When in government we will review the contract in full and considered within legal parameters, in particular the 80% take-or-pay given that ElectroGas is the most expensive source of generation from all available.”
Cover photo: Left: Opposition leader Bernard Grech, Right Top: A simulation of Denmark’s proposed wind farm project, Right Bottom: The ElectroGas power station
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