‘Draconian regulations’ stifle renewable energy projects – Chamber of SMEs

The Malta Chamber of SMEs lamented that “draconian regulations” were stopping businesses from investing in renewable energy projects, urging the government to desist from playing tug-of-war in this sector.

The chamber decried Malta’s reliance on energy from abroad, stating that this translated into huge amounts of money being pumped out of the country, and said that the country should plan its energy generation on local production via renewables.

It said that it was left incredulous by Enemalta’s recent justification of 28 power cuts in 6 days, in spite of reduced demand due to smaller tourist numbers. It emphasised that it has long insisted on a serious investment in the ageing energy grid.

But the chamber added that Enemalta appeared to be relying on renewable energy projects to help boost the grid, instead of helping such projects flourish. Each application, it said, was met with a hefty bill for a new substation or for other grid-related installations and upgrades.

“It is unacceptable that in Malta we have an energy distribution company that is treating the most important utility system on which the country depends for its citizens’ wellbeing and development as a burden and managing it by crisis,” the chamber said.

It noted that last January, it had proposed that renewable energy projects coupled with energy storage should be implemented in partnership with local operators, but while Enemalta had initially showed interest in the proposal, this was later retracted.

“Such projects would ease the strain on the grid by providing stable, multiple input points, modernizing the grid and reducing power cuts. It would also create new, much needed green jobs in Malta,” it said.

It thus renewed its call for government and Enemalta to take renewable energy seriously, and to do away with the draconian regulations ironically created by agencies that were supposed to promote renewable energy.

The government “should stop favouring technologies reliant on high overseas payments and instead start looking on ways to create synergies with local companies which employ Maltese people and seriously promote a cleaner, healthier environment. This has been the Malta Chamber of SMEs’ renewable energy sector’s mission for at least the last 5 years, and is only being restrained by bureaucracy and inaptitude of government and its officials,” the chamber concluded.