Energy sector should be at forefront of an EU recovery programme, Energy Minister tells EU

DOI / MEW

The energy sector should be considered at the forefront of an EU large-scale recovery programme to stimulate economic growth after the coronavirus pandemic and any associated economic crisis, Energy Minister Michael Farrugia said during an informal video conference involving his European counterparts.

The Council of Energy Ministers discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the energy sector.

Minister Farrugia noted that the pandemic had put an incredible amount of pressure on member states to ensure the ongoing continuity of essential operations and critical infrastructure. He highlighted that the health and safety of the employees and their families remained a priority.

During the video conference, Farrugia explained that the energy operators had triggered their business continuity plans, which were supplemented by contingency plans. Essential staff required for the maintenance and operation of critical energy infrastructure have been identified, and measures which focus on the prevention of contamination of any critical personnel have been introduced. 

The measures includes strict entry protocols at critical sites, isolation of teams and shifts to avoid physical interactions to minimize cross contamination, and down-scaling of personnel per shift. Plants have stock of critical spare parts and consumables which will allow normal operation to continue in the short to medium term, Farrugia added.

Malta has recently developed and submitted its Preventive Action Plan and Emergency Plan to the European Commission. This was done in line with the Security of Gas Supply Regulation.

Farrugia told his European counterparts that Malta’s electricity supply is interdependent with the security of its gas supply, which is currently the main source for electricity generation. He explained that prolonged gas supply shortage in Malta can affect negatively electricity generation, restricting customers’ consumption of electricity.

“During this planning for the coming times, we need to keep in mind the impact of when and how the second wave of the pandemic will affect us, given the absence of the medical cure and the unavailability of the vaccine,” Farrugia said.

The Energy Minister said that the current decreased demand for fuel highlighted the importance of the continuous efforts in the deployment of renewable energy sources and the implementation of energy efficiency measures in the transport sector.

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