Com­mis­sion judged new power sta­tion as jus­ti­fied – Kon­rad Mizzi

Malta Independent - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

Min­is­ter Kon­rad Mizzi said that the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion agrees with the need for a new power sta­tion, go­ing against per­sis­tent crit­i­cism lev­elled by the Op­po­si­tion.

On Wed­nes­day, the Com­mis­sion ap­proved, un­der EU state aid rules, the govern­ment’s plans to pay Elec­tro­gas Malta, op­er­a­tor of the De­li­mara power sta­tion, for pro­vid­ing en­ergy to the state elec­tric­ity com­pany Ene­malta. The mea­sure com­pen­sates Elec­tro­gas for the ad­di­tional cost of ful­fill­ing public ser­vice obli­ga­tions, a Com­mis­sion state­ment said.

Dr Mizzi ex­plained that in view of this de­ci­sion, the con­tro­ver­sial €360 mil­lion govern­ment bank guar­an­tee will now be with­drawn.

In June 2016, Malta no­ti­fied plans to sup­port the De­li­mara Gas and Power En­ergy Project to the Com­mis­sion for as­sess­ment un­der EU state aid rules. The project com­prises the devel­op­ment of a float­ing liq­uid nat­u­ral gas stor­age unit and a new com­bined cy­cle gas-fired power plant. The stor­age unit will sup­ply gas to the new power plant as well as to an ex­ist­ing plant.

It is un­der­stood that through this project there would be 1.1 mil­lion tonnes less of CO2 in Malta’s air. Dr Mizzi said that the Com­mis­sion em­pha­sised the need for se­cu­rity of sup­ply and stressed that EU ap­proval gives the project le­gal cer­tainty, pre­clud­ing any EU or mem­ber state en­tity from call­ing it into ques­tion.

The Com­mis­sion also ruled that the project would not dis­tort com­pe­ti­tion, both lo­cally vis-a-vis the in­ter­con­nec­tor as well as on an in­ter­na­tional level.

Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Rod­er­ick Mizzi ex­plained that the scru­tiny process by the Com­mis­sion en­tailed a de­tailed ques­tion and an­swer process, with 60 de­tailed ques­tions and 455 pages of govern­ment sub­mis­sions.

He stressed that the process was in no way straight­for­ward.

Dr Mizzi spoke of how the project was re­viewed in its en­tirety, and that the se­cu­rity of sup­ply agree­ment, the pur­chas­ing agree­ment and oth­ers re­lated to the project could not be re­viewed in iso­la­tion. He also said that the project was ap­proved in its en­tirety.

“All con­tracts went to the Com­mis­sion for scru­tiny,” said Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Mizzi, adding that the Com­mis­sion said the project was the best op­tion in terms of size and con­fig­u­ra­tion.

He con­cluded by say­ing that he is “proud of the en­dorse­ment and of the whole project,” adding that the pro­posal for the gas pipe­line is still in the works, which would see the LNG tanker sail away from Malta for good.

Photo: Jonathan Borg

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