Commission judged new power station as justified – Konrad Mizzi
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Dr Mizzi explained that in view of this decision, the controversial €360 million government bank guarantee will now be withdrawn.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.