Wind power could have been an important part of Malta’s energy strategy had the government not scrapped local plans in favour of a “corrupt” deal in Montenegro, Nationalist Party MP Ryan Callus insisted.
Callus, the party’s spokesperson on energy, was speaking during debate on the financial allocation for the Ministry for Energy and Water Energy when he highlighted a past PN government’s plans for an offshore wind farm at is-Sikka l-Bajda, off Għadira.
He acknowledged that Malta’s offshore wind energy efforts were hampered by the dearth of shallow seas, but added that other countries have been registering progress on this front.
The Sikka l-Bajda project sought to make use of a shallow reef, but in 2015, the Planning Authority voted against the project, with Callus – the Opposition’s representative on the board – the only one to vote in favour of it.
“Later on, I realised why they wanted to kill the Sikka l-Bajda wind farm project: because Konrad Mizzi was working on a corrupt deal through a wind farm in Montenegro,” he said. “It’s no surprise that a Malta wind farm was turned down.”
Callus added that while the government has been touting the conversion to natural gas energy generation, the EU still considered gas as a polluting fossil fuel and was instead promoting renewable energy.
He insisted that the PN’s vision was to develop the renewables sector into one which could also offer quality employment. But the latest Budget included no innovative ideas on this sector.
Proposed incentives on solar energy
Callus also spoke on solar energy, but argued that the government failed to implement proper incentives and measures to boost the sector.
He lamented that Enemalta was paying unjust rates for the purchase of energy – of €0.07 per kWh, when the lowest rate it charged was €0.105. At the very least, according to the MP, it should pay as much as it charged, if not more.
The MP also pointed out that there were many sizeable roofs – including in government properties and industrial parks – whose solar potential was not being exploited, and said that he expected the government to carry out an exercise to analyse the situation.
He added that the party is proposing a scheme that would provide for zero-interest loans to industry to make use of its solar energy potential.
The MP also proposed a consultation process on solar rights, highlighting how people who invested in solar panels faced the risk of future development putting them permanently in the shade.