The fact that the 20,000 hours that the Marsa Power Station was allowed to operate even though it is highly polluting have now been used up without the government having prepared other sources of energy is symptomatic of an administration which does not have a long term vision in the energy sector. Minister after Minister, from George Pullicino to Austin Gatt rubbished anyone who spoke about alternative sources of energy only to realise way too late that something has to be done to wean the country off total dependency on oil – a long process which requires forward planning, something this government is not capable of doing. Despite all the rhetoric government is also very late in implementing the project connecting Malta’s grid to Italy by cable.
Ralph Cassar, AD spokesperson on energy, transport and industry said: “The Nationalist government expects to rush through the planning process for the Delimara power station with no objections from anyone. This plant uses dirty heavy-fuel oil and an untested end-of-pipe pollution limiting technology. It is in a rush because it did not plan for the phasing out of Marsa Power station even though the Nationalist government had promised the power station would be closed down first in 1995 on completion of the first Delimara power plant, then in 2004, on accession to the European Union. The blame for this state of affairs and panic lies squarely on the government and it cannot expect to be given a carte blanche to do whatever it likes because of its incompetence and amateurism in the energy sector.”
Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson and spokesperson for Economy and Finance, added: “Even though government has introduced certain commendable measures regarding renewable energy, the fact remains that Malta is a laggard in the EU with regards to renewable energy and energy efficiency. We expect the forthcoming budget to give top priority to sustainable and clean energy use, rather than just having sporadic incentives. We also expect government to come up with a solution regarding the thousands of people living in apartments who are cannot make use of renewable energy due to penthouses”.