Fabian Demicoli

GRTU’s reaction to MEPA’s statements: PVs spoiling the skyline


During a public seminar organized by
MIEMA on the 15th June, GRTU drew the attention of MEPA's
representatives at the seminar together with MRA and Enemalta re the issue
reported in certain media that PV's are ruining Malta's skyline. Noel Gauci
from the renewable energy section of GRTU, recommended that a joint committee
is set up to issue guidelines for this growing sector to leave the desired
results.

It is true that some installations are not up to standard, and it is
GRTU's belief that installers should not accept to do installations that
eventually result in an eyesore. Who brings up the excuse that as a supplier's
responsibility stops at informing the customer is shortsighted and selfish as
these ‘ugly' installations only harm the sector for themselves and for their
fellow suppliers and leave the customer to face the music alone with MEPA.
Every installer has the moral responsibility of not biting the hand that feeds
him, thus we have to take care of the sector and learn from past mistakes not
to repeat them.

On the other hand GRTU will never agree
with any form of application which requires some form of processing with MEPA
prior installing a PV system. This would heavily increase bureaucracy,
something which is already not lacking in the sector, and will lengthen the
processing period for installations, which would be a  killer due to
timeframes imposed by the schemes. If such a measure is included, the sector
will be greatly harmed and the hard work done by many stakeholders such as
MFEI, MRRA, PPCD, MRA, Enemalta and GRTU will be wasted, resulting in a great
loss of opportunity for our families and for our nation as a whole.

However GRTU does not stop at objecting
to measures, it also makes proposals, and our proposal is that the committee is
formed without delay, suppliers are duly informed by the committee what the
parameters are and then they will be held responsible if an installation is not
done within those parameters. However it would not be fair for any authority to
try to grill an installer or client on installations before these parameters
are issued and suppliers are duly informed. One cannot expect people to abide
by a law that does not even exist.

GRTU also condemns isolating the PV
industry and blaming it for negative visual impact. One has to see the whole
picture.

If we look around us, we see pylons and
poles everywhere. So why is Enemalta asking customers to pay for their culvert
in newly built up areas if they want to avoid poles? The price of making
culverts is very similar to installing poles, even less if the road is being
newly done, and they have the added benefit of protecting the cables thus
reducing in maintenance and dangers for everyone.

How about reducing emissions from our
power stations? If there is an eyesore in the picturesque Marsaxlokk village which
we see in every postcard (apart from the power station itself) this is
definitely the smoke coming out of the several chimneys and covering sometimes
the whole area, and at other times Marsascala area up to Valletta and Sliema.
What are we waiting for to start switching machines one by one to gas?

How about better building regulations
and avoiding the rather squarish and ultra-simplistic buildings being
‘designed' by our architects and developers today.

So let us not isolate one important and
beneficial sector when we can tackle much more serious problems and allow such
a crucial industry that is creating jobs, revenue for the government through
VAT, reduction of unemployment and helping avoid hefty fines for not reaching
our emissions targets, to work.

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