Fabian Demicoli

When it comes to Renewable Energy, we haven’t yet started scratching the tip of the iceberg

 GRTU has
welcomed Government's efforts to find solutions and put in place a system that
allows Housing Authority dwellings to install PV systems so that these families
too may benefit from renewable energy. GRTU is currently in talks with the
relevant Authorities to find solutions for those families who live in
apartments and as such have no roof where they could place their own PV
systems. We expect talks to be concluded soon.

When we
see the latest EU statistics released yesterday by Eurostat we cannot help but
think that something wrong is being done when it comes to renewable energy. We
might not be aggressive enough in the country's policy, we might be limiting
our focus and disregarding the idea of technological innovation suited for our
country, maybe we are not exploiting our country's resource potential well
enough, but what we are certainly doing is not taking it seriously enough. In
eight years, since 2004, Malta has gone from 0.3% to 1.4% in 2012 of share of
energy from renewable sources. The ultimate target Malta should reach by 2020
is 10% but it seems to have become an accepted fact that Malta will not reach this
target. We expect some kind of genuine explanation for this and know if a plan
in the meantime since 2012 has been put in place to address the situation.

One
should not expect Malta to be a leader in this. Malta's target of 10% is in
fact the lowest amongst the Member States. What is worrying is that Malta is
amongst the Member States with the largest gap in achieving the target and when
one looks at the progress made from 2004 till 2012 it is evident that the
absolute majority of Member States have picked up pace and are quickly closing
the gap but Malta's progress has been very slow.

GRTU
however strongly feels that we have to think outside the box and our policy has
to become more aggressive but also wiser. Incentives for the private sector for
investment in renewable energy systems need to move much faster both in terms
of schemes and feed in tariffs. Government should give clear guidance where
investments in RES are needed by the private sector as right now the guidance
it is giving is very limited and will not get us very far in coming closer to
our target. More funds should be made available and easily accessible for
Research, Innovation and Development to develop technologies that target the
resources Malta has available and to adapt technologies that work very well in
other countries to the Maltese context.

Past and
recent experience in the RES sector shows that when Government issues
guidelines the private sector is fast to address it and the earmarked potential
is fully achieved. What we need is a multi-technology approach and the private
sector is ready to invest in innovative solutions but if guidance and will from
the policy makers is missing all the investment will be devoted to a very
limited area.

Malta is
also amongst the Member States with the highest electricity prices, even more
so when it comes to commercial users, which impinges heavily on the country's
competitiveness. We can no longer afford to lay back and watch the gap widen.

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