Better power tariffs thanks to interconnector - Fenech
Malta can look forward to better electricity rates following its interconnection with the Italian energy grid, Finance Minister Tonio Fenech told delegates at the opening of the Eurelectric annual conference this morning.
He also reiterated that Malta is considering using gas for the power station.
"The Maltese Government is seriously evaluating the installation of a gas pipeline to the European gas network in order to switch to the cleanest of fuels for our electricity generation. Such a project clearly will depend on a decision that the European Union will be taking over the coming months, namely whether to include such a project – and the level co-financing – in its post 2013 financing period," the minister said.
Mr Fenech touched on supply issues which have pushed up oil prices, notably concerns surrounding Iraq, Iran and Nigeria.
He said that despite its own challenges, related mostly to physical isolation, Malta had not shied away from also setting ambitious targets. Malta plans to reach 10% of all the energy consumption from a renewable energy mix by the year 2020. In recent years Government undertook several national initiatives to sensitise members of the public to invest in renewable sources of energy. Thousands of families benefited from grants for the purchase of solar water heaters and photovoltaic systems for domestic use. Industry has also been granted aid to invest in solar energy generation.
"Keeping this environment and energy production synergy in mind we are also embarking on the interconnector project between Malta and Sicily, which will facilitate additional efficient energy returns and at the same time diminish the impact of emissions. As an isolated island this makes our economy and energy stability completely dependent on the continuous supply of oil. The interconnector will address this issue, and by the end of 2013, Malta will finally be part of the European grid. Today, Malta's energy infrastructure is mainly dependant on gas turbines and fuel oil fired boilers and Malta's generation costs are both higher and more volatile when compared to the international market due to the lack of economies of scale and the restricted availability of fuels. We therefore look forward to better rates following our interconnection with the Italian energy grid."
The interconnector, he added, also plays an integral part in Malta meeting the EU's low carbon agenda.
"The interconnector will make way to the possibility of investing in large scale renewable energy sources, such as offshore wind farm and the possibility of producing energy from waste, which are currently being studied."
Mr Fenech also spoke on the power station project, saying different technologies were brought together to satisfy the requisites of Malta and most importantly abide to all policies posed by the European Union.
"The result is a highly efficient, flexible plant, which is fully complaint to European Union and international emissions and environmental standards"