Labour spokesperson for environment and sustainable development Leo Brincat has accused the Nationalist government of failing in its efforts to meet Malta’s 10% alternative energy generation target, and for neglecting to explore solar energy by over-relying on wind energy instead.
Brincat’s statement is the latest in a spate of accusations and rebuttals between Labour and government which followed in the wake of the recent announcement of the development of a floating €15 million turbine project off the coast of Mellieha.
He was reacting to a statement issued by Ministry of Resource and Rural Affairs which insisted that government’s intentions were clear in that it intends of generate energy from wind sources, and accused Labour of trying to politicise the issue.
The ministry has insisted that nothing about the project was being kept secret or hidden, and said that government had already applied for EU funding and issued a call for tender in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment recommendations.
The ministry also said that wind farms are part of Malta’s plan to achieve clean energy, adding that other sources include solar and waste. “The aims established for solar energy have already exceeded those established for 2012 while clean energy is already being generated by waste.”
It insisted that the government is “clear on its projects” and accused the Opposition of being split and confused over the issue.
In his statement, Brincat dismissed the ministry’s announcement, saying that it “clearly shows that we are still at least eight years away from reaching the 10% alternative energy target” and said that Malta is still at the bottom of the list of EU Member States.
He accused government of having no contingency plan to make good for the negative performance that the Sikka l-Bajda project has been long showing.
Brincat also criticised government for having make “no serious effort” to explain why the government chose to rely on wind energy to generate almost 40% of the alternative energy target imposed by the European Union.
“There are no indications that the floating turbine which will cost around €15 million will in any way generate energy because it deemed by many as a ‘dummy’ (experimental) turbine, intended only to keep measuring the environmental impact of the project,” he said.
Brincat also said that the government has to date given no confirmation whether it had managed to reach 2011’s 2% alternative energy generation target or not, and added that it would be something that the European Commission would be considering when judging Malta’s progress on alternative energy.
Brincat accused Pullicino of attempting to play down “the dressing down he had received from the European Commission only a short while ago when he had requested that they downwardly revise Malta’s targets once the Sikka l-Bajda project falls through.”
“Instead of boasting about how many photovoltaic systems where installed, Minister Pullicino should instead explain why the Government chose to rely so heavily on wind energy instead of solar energy, which is our natural source for energy,” he said.
He challenged government to come clean on how much energy this turbine will actually generate, and whether the Government’s Planning and Priorities department (PPCD) approved the expenditure of €15 million for the new turbine.
“If it did not, it should explain the reason behind it, and can we expect to have the necessary funding for the floating turbine,” he added.
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