Manuel Sapiano is Chair of the World Energy Council's Malta Member Committee and Chief Executive Officer of the Energy and Water Agency (EWA) within Malta’s Ministry for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development. In this role, he coordinates a team of experts with responsibilities for the formulation, evaluation, monitoring and implementation of national policies concerning the use of energy and water in a sustainable manner and the formulation of plans to meet National and EU energy and water resources management targets.
Henry Debattista is Secretary of the World Energy Council's Malta Member Committee and works as an Officer within the International Office of the Energy and Water Agency where he follows the Agency’s membership in regional and international organisations, coordinating the participation of technical experts from the Water and Energy Units in the initiatives and activities led by these organisations. He also leads the Agency’s participation in EU funded projects, in particular where such projects are of a cross-sectoral nature.
Energy in Malta
Malta’s energy leaders profile an energy landscape where Energy Policy and Business Environment issues are defined as Critical Uncertainties. Action Priority issues revolve mainly around Energy Vision and Technology along with a focus on EU Cohesion.
Market Design is perceived with high uncertainty and high impact. Malta’s market design reflects its size, with limited liquidity and typically high relative costs. The perception of “uncertainty” is most likely associated with the fact that Malta’s electricity market offers limited scope for competition, unlike other EU countries. This was acknowledged in the recent revamp of the EU electricity market design.
Economic Growth is also identified as a Critical Uncertainty. The ‘European Commission Malta Report 2019’ states that while the country’s economy continues to grow, balancing this growth with long term sustainable development remains a challenge. Risks include infrastructure bottlenecks, lack of natural resources, a skilled workforce, among others.
Decentralised Systems is a third Critical Uncertainty for Malta’s energy leaders. In 2018, grant schemes for residential solar water heaters were increased from €400 to €700 per installation, and those for photovoltaic panels were extended as well. PV installations in non-residential premises continued to be supported through either a feed-in tariff or premium guarantees for 20 years. Uncertainty is most likely attributable to the physical and infrastructural limitations for further development of decentralised systems. These include physical space, shading and grid integration capabilities of further intermittent renewable energy sources.
Energy Efficiency is perceived with the lowest uncertainty among Action Priorities. In 2018, Malta’s Roof Insulation and Double-Glazing Subsidy Scheme was extended from 15% to 50% of the total cost. In addition, industry can benefit from tax credits of up to 50%, depending on the amount invested in energy efficiency. This programme is part of an effort to encourage energy efficiency upgrades for households and industry/services sectors, notwithstanding the fact that Maltese households are amongst the lowest energy consumers in the EU.
EU Cohesion is perceived with low uncertainty and high impact. Malta is praised in its Energy Union country profile as an example of the share of renewable energy in transport fuel consumption. It is also channelling EU Cohesion funds towards the upgrade of transport infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewable energy in public, commercial and residential buildings. This performance has, for years, enabled continued EU funding to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth and sustainable development in the country.
LNG/Natural Gas is also among Malta’s Action Priorities. After a significant investment in an LNG facility to supply the country’s power plants, Malta is also actively pursuing a €400 million pipeline interconnection project linking the country to the European gas grid to reinforce its security of supply. Malta is seeking EU funding to support this project.