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Directorate recommends refusal of wind farms development application

Nationalist MP George Pullicino expressed surprise this evening that the Mepa directorate is recommending refusal of a development application for a wind farm on Is-Sikka l-Bajda off Mellieha.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Pullicino said Malta could not ignore wind energy if it was to achieve its EU-mandated target of producing 10 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.

He said he could not understand how the recommendation for refusal was being made when the full environmental impact study had not been completed.

In 2008, he recalled, a committee of experts had recommended Is-Sikka l-Bajda as the best site for a wind farm. They had recommended more studies, and a wind monitoring station was therefore set up at L-Ahrax.

The data showed that there was enough wind for wind turbines using current technology to be technically viable.

It was then recommended that one wind turbine should be set up at Is-Sikka l-Bajda itself to gather more data and assess the impact on the colony of birds at L-Irdum Tal-Madonna, 3km away. An application for EU funds was submitted.

The former government’s ultimate aim was to have a wind farm producing 100 megawatts of energy.

This would have been a €300 million investment by the private sector with between 18 and 20 turbines being set up.Mr Pullicino asked if Mepa had been given a political direction to dump wind energy, but said this source of energy could not be ignored, more so because solar energy was not enough – because there isn’t enough land space for solar panels.

The government’s own solar farm policy had admitted that solar panels could only achieve a third of the renewable energy targets, he observed

The ideal policy, Mr Pullicino said, was to have wind and solar energy together, since there was more wind in winter, when there was less sun, and vice-versa.

Mr Pullicino also asked what had become of the National Renewable Energy Policy which was meant to have been issued in September 2013.