Interconnector work on course for completion by end 2013
Work and preparations are on course for the power interconnector between Sicily and Malta to come on stream at the end of next year, finally making it possible for Marsa power station to be totally shut down.
Finance Minister Tonio Fenech this morning inspected works currently in hand on the station where the cable will land at Maghtab and where the power will be stepped-down.
Work will also start shortly on a 4km gallery which will take the cable to Kappara distribution centre, where the imported electricity will be fed into the distribution system.
Mr Fenech said the process for the granting of permits on the Sicily side of the interconnector is will in hand, and the Italian authorities have promised to honour time-frames for the permits to be issued by September.
The €200m interconnector will deliver 200 megawatts of electricity and that can be boosted by an extra 100 megawatts for an hour in an emergency.
Mr Fenech explained that half of Marsa power station will be shut down once the Delimara power station extension is commissioned, with the rest following when the interconnector is ready.
By that time, Enemalta will have a power generation capacity of 670MWs compared to the current 571 MW.
The undersea cable would enable Malta to source clean energy and also buy the cheapest electricity possible, Mr Fenech said.
He said that a government decision to subsidize Enemalta by €25m this year had kept prices at cheapest level in the circumstances.
Replying to questions about the recent power cuts in various localities, Mr Fenech denied that there has been insufficient investment in the distribution network. He said that there are 14,000 11kv cables of which only 15 had failed, due to local issues which were being tackled.