Fiddien site for solar farm subject of 2015 litigation
A site in Fiddien, which Minister Without Portfolio Konrad Mizzi said would serve as a communal solar energy farm, is at the centre of a 2015 litigation case between the government and a private consortium.
After Dr Mizzi last week spoke about a ‘new’ project, saying the proposed solar farm would be built on top of a Water Services Corporation reservoir in Fiddien, limits of Rabat, a spokesman for Alberta Photovoltaic Consortium said that would not be possible, at least for the time being.
The area, he pointed out, had already been committed to the consortium through a public contract.
“The government knows the issue is still under litigation before the arbitration centre. If he decides to ignore the ongoing legal action and bulldozes his way through, the minister will be exposing the government to possible financial damages and further legal action,” the spokesman said.
Questions sent to the Office of the Prime Minister on why the government was proceeding with the project in view of the case before the arbitration centre remained unanswered at the time of writing.
A spokesman for the WSC, which rented the area to the private consortium, acknowledged that litigation continued but insisted that both “the WSC and the government are acting within their rights”.
The issue dates to 2012 when, following a public call, the government entered into a public contract so that a number of public properties, including the Fiddien reservoir, would be used for the installation of PV panels by the private consortium. Then, after the change in government in 2013, Dr Mizzi, who at the time was also responsible for energy, said he would stop the contract, claiming shortcomings in the adjudication process on the basis of “wrongdoings” flagged by an interdepartmental report.
Though the report was not published, Dr Mizzi, in October 2014, accused former Nationalist Cabinet minister George Pullicino in Parliament of approving a feed-in tariff that was lower than the one on the market. The allegations had been passed on to the police, however no further action is known to have been taken since.
The private company rejects any claims of wrongdoing and insists the contract signed is still legally valid.