Goodbye to renewable energy?

 

The latest speech by Enemalta Chairman Louis Giordimaina describes in a nutshell what the government thinks about alternative energy. Mr. Giordimaina said that it is almost impossible to produce energy by renewable means in Malta while addressing the World Fuel Oil Summit on 17 May.

This is not only a very short-sighted comment, but highlights the “spin” the government wants to give energy generation in Malta after it failed miserably to introduce a coherent plan regarding energy generation and an “energy conscious mentality” in the Maltese people after 25 years in government.

According to Giordimaina Malta's small size, high population density and small footprint "makes exploitation of renewable energy sources extremely difficult, almost impossible." Actually, if the current government ever dared to look at these “problems” creatively, it would have realised that the high population could have helped solved part of the energy problem.

The present government has been subsidizing PV panels only for only a few years. When the subsidisation was introduced, there was a limit to how many people could apply for it. Now, finally, it seems that the government has opened the door to all those people who wish to invest in PV technology. This step has been taken at a very late stage and coupled with the fact that the rebate is 50% still means that PV technology is quite expensive and can only be afforded by the upper middle class. Another problem is that there are too few companies that specialise in PV technology and they practically have a monopoly. Prices vary little and so the consumer has very little to choose from.

Considering the enormous cost of investing in heavy oil and the power-plants that use it, wouldn’t have been much wiser to increase the rebate on PV technology to get more people to adopt it?

Another question is why after successive budgets declaring that all government buildings should start investing in PV technology, Mr. Giordimaina explained that now: “the government is in the process of identifying selected government owned buildings in order to install photovoltaic panels.” This means that the government wasted more than four years because it first mentioned using such buildings for the placement of PV panels in the 2008 budget!

According to Mr. Giordimaina the new heavy fuel oil power plant at Delimara will replace the old power station in Marsa and an interconnector with Sicily will decrease our dependence on oil.

Both statements are true, but actually skirt some of the most serious problems are country faces.

The first has to do with the new power plant at Delimara. We are sure that Mr. Giordimaina’s friends at the World Fuel Oil Summit were happy to hear that Malta invested so much in a heavily polluting fuel oil plant that is being phased out and even banned all over Europe. Secondly, it would have made a whole lot of sense if the power plant was built to run on gas when it was being built. As things stand, it needs another multi-million euro investment to be converted back to working on gas. Thirdly, Mr. Giordimaina conveniently forgot to tell his friends that Enemalta has over 600 million euros of a debt and that the interconnectors for electricity and gas will probably cost at least another couple of hundred million euros. This means that within a few years, Enemalta’s debt will increase to over 800 million and knowing the corporation’s track-record in managing finances, nobody will be surprised if it reaches a billion within the next few years!

But is an interconnector a safe solution?

Mr. Giordimaina talked about the AC cable as if electricity is going to flow through it from Europe for free. Actually, it depends on how much the imported electricity will cost because what’s the use of decreasing our dependence on oil, when the electricity we are getting from abroad will be costlier? Nobody thinks the Europeans are out to do us any favours, so the electricity they’ll be sending our way will be cost good money and the government will have to pay through its nose to justify the construction of the interconnector.

The only advantage will be a reduction in pollution, but those who think that electricity and water bills will fall because of the interconnector will be very disappointed.   

What does Mr. Giordimaina mean that the interconnector will offer a more secure of supply of electricity?

There’s nothing more secure than producing our own energy, but Mr. Giordimaina’s admission that it is impossible to produce alternative energy in Malta has put a dent in this too.

Why focus on an immensely costly interconnector with foreign countries, when alternative energy generation could have been developed here in Malta?

I am not referring to large costly wind farms, but to small PV, Solar Heaters and Wind installations on roofs. If Enemalta had been even slightly forward-looking, it would have started developing the potential of thousands upon thousands of roofs, but even the development of the National Grid came late. It all boils down to Enemalta and the Nationalist government’s total lack of vision and planning in the energy sector to the extent that our country still lacks a decent energy policy.

If the present government had started using households to generate electricity fifteen years ago, the numbers today would be enough to start offsetting the huge cost of oil purchasing. Add to this the fact that the untold millions spent on the purchase of oil and the construction of another power station turbine would have gone a long way in providing thousands of households with strong alternative energy subsidies in the form of PV cells and wind installations that would have pumped huge amounts of clean energy into the National Grid.

Finally, can we take Mr. Giordimaina seriously about the 100MW offshore wind farm at Sikka l-Bajda the government wants to develop when it has already wasted almost five years discussing wind energy generation and did absolutely nothing?

But, then Mr. Giordimaina just delivered the speech and he is nothing more than another government yes-man whose expertise is aviation and whose stint at the Water Services Corporation solved absolutely none of our fresh-water problems!

It’s just another case of musical chairs with our corporations by Nationalist sycophants.

Epicurus

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Comments (5)

Rudy Behrens

- Fri 25-May-2012, 16:48

We have solutions that would work very well on Malta. Who should we contact first?

DialogExpert

- Fri 25-May-2012, 16:00

Ovcharov's ENERGY STORAGE "NEO-5"
"BUCKET FOR ELECTRICITY"

Description:

The team led by engineer Ovcharov, developed the design of an high specific capacity electric current energy stoarage. The design of electrical energy storage device based on the well-known physical principles, has a high adaptability to streamlined manufacture and low cost. The energy stoarage design is made with the use of environmentally clean materials that do not require special disposal. The design can have any size, shape, and it is a good structural material with load carrying capacity (there are possible variants: solid or flaxible). Universal production technology of various-application batteries from micro to macro sizes is based on standard equipment.

Characteristics of NEO 5:
* Charging voltage: 50-600 V. (Depending on source)
* Charging current 1-1000 A. (Depending on source)
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* The charging time depends on the source, it has ability for instaneous charge (impuls).
* The cell voltage < 600V. (without using a serial connection)
* The discharge voltage 12-36V. (depending on the source of consumption)
* Discharge current: 1-1000A. (depending on the source of consumption)
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* Due to the structural features energy stoarage do not heated diring charging or discharging
* Operating temperature range: from -70 С0 to 250 С0 (in sub-zero temperatures, the specific capacitance increases).
* Specific energy - 105 kJ/kg 28 kW-h/kg (cell voltage 100 V with due account for quintuple underdeclaration for insulator breakdown)
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IDIOT

- Fri 25-May-2012, 12:37

Isn't this one of the Maltese IDIOTS so much denigrated by Tonio Fenech?

Antoine Zammit

- Fri 25-May-2012, 10:54

Tal-biki!!! Iva aħna jista jkun nibqgħu taħt dal-Gvern tal-Miżerikordji???


Hemm bżonn li jitla Gvern Laburista malajr kemm jista jkun!

BETTER FUTURE

- Fri 25-May-2012, 05:38

The last 25 years have been wasted as you so rightly conclude. But economic wealth for the Maltese general public to enjoy was never the PN's prerogative. For confirmation, just look at the multitude of commercial buildings rented/leased by the Government from private owners, whilst allowing Government own properties to deteriorate. Whom do you think gained tremendously from this leasing, the Maltese citizen/taxpayer or the owners/Government appointed procurer??

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