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MALTATODAY 19 September 2021

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 19 SEPTEMBER 2021 8 NEWS JAMES DEBONO JUST 14.8% of all electricity transmitted to Malta through the interconnector in 2019 was derived from renewable sourc- es of energy produced in other countries. When this amount of is added to locally produced renewable energy, in all five years leading to 2019 Malta would have ex- ceeded the 10% threshold for electricity being supplied from renewable sources, a Central Bank report shows. The information derives from estimates by the Italian power exchange Gestore del Mercato Elettrico (GME). But the report also calls for more investment in renewa- ble energy because Malta still failed to reach the mandatory threshold to have 10% of its to- tal energy supply from locally produced renewables in 2020, having to resort to buying en- ergy credits from other coun- tries. In 2020, Malta acquired €2 million in renewable energy "credits" from Estonia to reach its EU targets for that year, and it had previously also entered in a €1.4 million seven-year deal with Bulgaria for 2013- 2020. And although production of renewable energy doubled from 4.4% of total energy sup- ply in 2015 to 8.2% in 2019 thanks to more investment and solar energy initiatives, Malta still fell short of its renewable energy targets. In 2019, the share of renew- ables as a percentage of all electricity produced locally reached 10.5%; but when im- ported interconnector energy is included, that share falls to 8.2%. Significantly, in 2016 a drop in energy generation from lo- cal power stations as a result of greater use of the intercon- nector saw renewable energy peaking at 16% of all locally produced electricity. But even in that year, only 6% of Malta's total energy supply – including that imported from Sicily – was derived from renewables. In subsequent years, with in- creased production from the Electrogas gas plant, the share of renewables fell again to just over 10%. The Central Bank analysis shows Malta making steady progress towards the 10% tar- get. But while the intercon- nector establishes "a clearer picture regarding Malta's en- vironmental footprint", this should "not be taken as a vin- dication of Malta's energy pol- icy". Indeed the CBM says further efforts are needed to even ex- ceed Malta's set targets by us- ing solar, wind, other natural endowments or a combination of these, to shift Malta strongly into renewable energy produc- tion. Imported renewables do not event count when establishing the share of locally generated renewable energy, the latter being the 10% target Malta has to reach. On an optimistic note, the CBM says Malta has made bolder steps in shifting its sup- ply towards renewable energy and that "with further invest- ment, Malta may soon achieve its set targets outright, at least in respect of electricity gener- ation". 15% of interconnector power derived from renewables Malta will need credits from Estonia and Bulgaria to meet EU targets for renewable energy production despite role of interconnector Share of locally produced renewable energy 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Share of total energy supply* 4.4% 5.8% 7% 7.8% 8.2% Share of locally produced energy** 7.8% 15.9% 10.4% 10.1% 10.5% * Includes electricity bought from interconnector and power stations ** Includes local production from power stations and renewables only Share of all imported and locally produced renewable energy of total electricity supply 2015 9-10% 2016 12-13% 2017 10% 2018 10-11% 2019 11-12% Renewable energy in Malta, as a share of electricity supply, has been increasing strongly over recent years. While it stood at 4.4% in 2015, it rose to 8.2% by 2019 – almost doubling. This was supported by the adoption of solar energy, which accounted for more than 97.0% of total renewable energy production in Malta in 2019. This push probably benefit- ted from policy initiatives to subsidise and promote the installation of solar panels in residential, commercial and public spaces. While commendable, this effort still fell short of achieving Mal- ta's renewable energy targets.

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