Enemalta engineers' union against power link to Sicily
The Enemalta Professional Officers' Union has come out against the proposed submarine cable connecting Sicily and Malta.
"Questions arise whether the security of supply will be threatened at the expense of reducing emissions. The submarine cable is a real time provider of electricity and given the scenario of a cable fault occurring when 200MW are being supplied, the electricity network in Malta will surely collapse and plunge the whole nation in darkness with very serious consequences for the whole business community on the island. To add insult to injury repairing a fault at sea is not an easy task especially if the elements of nature are against you. The cable interconnection has to be evaluated vis-à-vis the political, economical and social implications it may have."
Instead of investing a high initial cost on an interconnection cable to have a source of renewable energy from abroad, the EPOU suggested the introduction of higher incentives in photovoltaic installations on household roofs.
"This incentive should also allow the local energy authority to buy back at a more reasonable rate the excess energy produced."
The union's views were submitted to the Climate Change Committee in response to the Committee’s public request for feedback on its Climate Change Report.
Late last year the Union was accepted by MEUSAC as a sectoral committee, and in response set up a sub-committee of engineers from amongst its members with a view to studying the Climate Change Report.
The union in its comments also pointed out that there are many constraints in adopting wind as a renewable source of energy. However, it believed that a proper pilot project should first be initiated by the local authorities since not all sites were suitable for wind farming and that proper wind studies had to be performed on sites linked to be adequate to host wind turbines.
The union noted that internationally the number of installed wind turbines at a depth equal to that of the sea near Malta was still low, and that floating offshore wind turbines were expensive and were still being developed. It said that its suggestion at this stage was the installation of just 2 x 3MWe turbines on shore.
This would thus not affect the local generating power stations when wind dropped or increased.
"As a first step, one can start on a provision of offshore locations for research and development to start building local knowledge on the subject," the union said.