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MALTATODY 20 March 2022

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16 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 20 MARCH 2022 NEWS ELECTION 2022 JAMES DEBONO THE energy policy of both major parties hinges on the develop- ment of a second interconnector, on which there is a national con- sensus. Both parties concur on in- vestment in offshore renewables and the potential development of hydrogen infrastructure to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. AD is the only party to insist on the purchase of a higher percent- age of renewables from the inter- connector. he major distinction between the major parties is that the PN is committed " to work" for the termination of the electrogas con- tract. The careful choice of words is an indication that terminating the contract may be a difficult process. And while the PN makes reduc- tion in bills conditional on ter- minating the contract, Labour is careful in choosing its words on future pricing of energy, by promising to keep electricity bills "under control" in a way which "guarantees stability" to families and businesses. This falls short of a clear commitment against any hike in bills. Labour is keen on emphasizing long term price sta- bility, but the PN is committed to buy the cheapest and cleanest en- ergy directly from the European market. As regards billing the PN is promising a refund to all house- holds penalized by anomalies in the billing system which have been recognized by government in the last budget. Labour makes no such commitment but is promising a separate tariff rate for tenants liv- ing in rented properties in a meas- ure which would benefit lower in- come groups. AD is also the only party to ad- dress the problem created by high- er buildings which block access to solar energy of neighbouring properties. And while Labour is keen on the development of solar farms on the roofs of warehouses constructed in disused quarries, AD categorically excludes solar farms, which result in more ce- mentification or loss of agricul- tural land. The Labour Party's manifesto also includes a raft of proposals related to water conservation in- cluding free audits for households and companies incentives for on site desalination plants for coastal establishments. Labour also addresses a neglect- ed but serious sanitary issues relat- ed to the use of old water tanks in households by proposing a scheme for their replacement. But all par- ties except AD make no reference to the need to protect ground wa- ter from over-abstraction. As regards waste the PN makes a vague commitment to verify the location and operational model of the incinerator, which has already been approved in Maghtab. AD is very critical of incinera- tion warning that this could derail waste reduction efforts, but does not make any concrete proposal on this matter. United by the interconnector: where the parties stand on energy, waste and water Labour Party • Commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and "drastic" decrease in emissions by 2030. • The development of a second in- terconnector by 2025, which will result in a 58% reduction in carbon emissions. • New electricity distribution link to be located somewhere between Maghtab and Mosta to ensure more efficient distri- bution of imported power, new distribution center in Naxxar and 200 new substations to strengthen distribution network. • New scheme to help households replace water tanks on roofs with new ones made in material which prevents the gen- eration of microbes. • Incentivise small-scale waste wa- ter treatment plants in households through which water from baths, washing machines and dishwashers can be treated to be re- used for landscaping and flushing. • Free auditing for households and SMEs to reduce water consumption. • Assist commercial establishments along the coast to invest in on-site desalin- ization plants. • Commitment to keep electricity bills "under control" in a way which "guar- antees stability" to families and business- es. • A fixed rate for bills paid by tenants in rented properties instead of the existing system based on different bands. Pre-paid meters will be installed on a voluntary ba- sis. • Encourage private investment in "floating" offshore wind and solar farms. • Investment in the storage of re- newable energy to strengthen grid to ac- commodate offshore generation of renew- ables. • More studies, technical prepara- tions and a national plan for the use of hy- drogen as a "source of clean energy". • Greater use of roofs of public enti- ties for the production of renewables. • A study involving farmers and ac- ademics on how agricultural projects can contribute to the production of renewables without impacting on agricultural produc- tion. • An obligation on all commercial buildings, offices and schools to install re- newable energy systems. • Free energy audit to SMEs with the aim of reducing consumption. Complying companies will be eligible for tax credits. • Completion of ship to shore refue- ling for ships entering the grand harbor to reduce emissions by 90%. • New incinerator in Maghtab to provide 4.5% of total energy demand. • An "underground refuse collec- tion" system aimed at reducing inconven- ience to residents and pedestrians. • Identification of more sites for centers for the disposal of bulky refuse and the introduction of re-use and repair centers in these sites. Centers to start tak- ing glass, plastic and paper. • Installation of long promised plas- tic bottle machines throughout the country and extension of refund scheme to all con- tainers made of plastic and not just bever- ages. • The introduction of a collection scheme for used clothes. • A pilot project for hotels and res- taurants to encourage investment in tech- nologies to enable them to transform food left overs in to bio gas which can be used in cooking processes.

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