Updated: Government reacts to Debono power station motion
Nationalist MP Franco Debono has presented a private member's motion in Parliament calling on Enemalta to remove its fuel tanks from the heart of Birzebbuga (the March 31 installation) and not to operate the power station using heavy fuel oil.
The motion, presented to the Clerk of the House this morning, also calls on the government to upgrade the area of Birzebbuga and Marsaxlokk with projects that are beneficial to the environment and for compensation to be given to the people because of the state of the area and the environmental deficit.
Dr Debono said in comments to timesofmalta.com that such compensation could include a reduction of water and electricity bills.
The section on the power station says that the power station must conform strictly to EU directives if shortcomings result, and the extension should not be operated using heavy fuel oil but should instead use gas or diesel which is less harmful than heavy fuel oil for the environment.
See text of motion on pdf below
In a reaction, the government said its investment in energy was aimed at bringing about a better environment and creating jobs.
The power station extension was built according to EU environmental standards and the project was complemented by the interconnector from Sicily.
Such projects would enable the country to keep up its economic development and strengthen itself socially thanks to a better environment.
The power station was already bound by the conditions of the IPPC permit and it was equipped to reduce emissions as if it operated on gasoil. The extension would use low sulphur fuel oil, which was far cheaper than gasoil. Using gasoil would push up costs by €37 million per year which would be reflected in tariffs.
Furthermore, the government was committed to opt for gas operation and the EU was considering the funding of a gas pipeline to link Malta to the European gas grid. Furthermore, the extension of the Delimara plant and the interconnector would enable the closure of the Marsa power station.
With regard to the March 31 plant in Birzebbuga, the government said talks on the privatisation of Enemalta's petroleum division were under way and the plan was to follow the model of the privatisation of the gas division, which led to the closure of the Qajjenza plant.