Maltese Cabinet meets in Brussels
The whole Maltese Cabinet has flown to Brussels for different events mostly linked with preparations leading up to>> Malta taking over the presidency of the European Union in January
A future Nationalist Party in government would annul the contract the Labour administration signed with Electrogas if this is found to go against the interests of the Maltese people, the PN shadow minister for energy Marthese Portelli said yesterday.
Once elected, the PN would immediately start a thorough review of the contract signed for the provision of energy, and this could lead to its annulment, she added.
A few weeks ago, PN leader Simon Busuttil said that a PN government would ignore the contract, with the PN yesterday going one step further by saying it would annul what Dr Busuttil had described as “daylight robbery”.
The PN MP also said that a PN government would give the option to the Maltese people as to where to purchase their energy from.
Asked whether this would still be offered if it is found that the contract with Electrogas cannot be annulled, the PN MP did not say yes or no, but answered: “our priority will remain the interest of Maltese people businesses. We have not yet seen the full contracts. When government is trying to introduce this tanker at all costs then explain, why does government not want to publish all the pages? As there are clauses government knows the people will not like, and this is what the PN will look at. If the contract was not negotiated in the interest of the Maltese people, then it can be annulled”.
As for the details as to how this would work, she said that the PN is currently in the process of developing their energy policies, and that the strategy will give details as to how this would work.
She said that the deal government struck with Electrogas will cost Malta €100 million per year. “This because government negotiated the contract to purchase energy at 9c6 per unit, when the cost from the interconnector is currently 3c or 6c depending on whether it is during the day or at night.
She also said that Malta has noted a 60% drop in pollution from the generation of electricity thanks to the interconnector, adding that government’s argument in this regard, that the new power station will reduce pollution, evaporates with this statistic.
The PN MP also said that currently, Malta requires around 350MW of power, yet the interconnector provides 200MW, the BWSC produces 150MW and solar panels produce around 50MW.
This she said, was when these were not being fully utilised. As such, Dr Portelli said, the argument that the new station would help deal with the need for energy also falls.
The PN MP also mentioned that Delimara phase 2 A and Phase 2 B are there if needed, and they comprise of gas and steam turbines. She stressed that Delimara 1 would not be needed.
Asked whether a growing population, including the number of foreigners coming to Malta, as well as new developments such as what is planned through the Paceville master plan would require the energy produced by the new Electrogas station, Dr Portelli said that the master plan does not mention a need for more power to be supplied.
She also again stressed that the figures she gave, with for example solar panel output, were low.
PN general election candidate Aaron Micallef Piccione was also present at the conference.
The PL released a statement in response, saying that the PN is in a state of panic and do not have an energy plan.
“More than this, their only plan is to go back to the way things were, using heavy fuel oil, which would mean more pollution and health problems”.
The PL argued that Dr Portelli said “If we would need more than 400MW during the Summer head, in August, government could turn on the Delimara plant”.
What Dr Portelli said was that Delimara Phase 2a (around 60MW) and 2b (around 100 MW), one of which is used during country-wide blackouts and the other is not used at all, are made up of gas and steam turbines, and that these two could be used. She did not say that Delimara 1 would be used.
However, the PL in their statement said: “The PN is confirming that Delimara 1, the part of the power station that this government will be closing down, would keep operating for the detriment of the surrounding areas”.