Mal­tese Cabi­net meets in Brus­sels

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

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.

PL re­sponse

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”.

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