Space, and extensive opportunities for the production of green energy in Malta, are critical. The Government’s electoral manifesto did not feature oil and gas exploration, therefore it is encouraging to take note of the ambitious ideas needed to solve current issues concerning energy security, and the supply of green energy.
The solution to the Malta’s energy issues will either be in land reclamation or making use of Malta’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which means doing business offshore. Malta belatedly announced the process to declare its EEZ in June 2021. This year, the plan to harvest its economic potential took-off with the first preliminary market consultation (PMC), which ended in September 2022.
Hurds bank, an area of relatively shallow waters, is of special interest and could be a location where renewable energy could be generated, by anchoring massive floating PV panels, along with off-shore wind farms.
Another project which is being discussed as a short-term solution, is the EastMed pipeline (a natural gas pipeline linking Cyprus to Greece and eventually, joining Italy’s network). This is not expected to be much of a game changer for Europe’s energy supply. Malta, however, could gain opportunities if this pipleine was linked to Italy’s natural gas network, as it could be retrofitted to generate electricity through green hydrogen.
Green hydrogen, as a source of zero emissions energy is highly topical, and Malta could reap the benefits from venturing into it. Ideas were discussed to upgrade the Electrogas power plant, and the BWSC system, to operate on a blend of hydrogen and natural gas.
After all, optimists predict that hydrogen will be a more affordable solution in the long run. As an island nation heavily dependent on air-transport, ReFuelEU (an EU aviation initiative to encourage the use of sustainable fuels) would be a welcome game-changer.
Exciting times lie ahead, and Malta cannot afford to fall behind with technological advances. Attracting foreign investment seems to be key to supporting Malta’s sustainable energy and climate goals.
In light of this year’s war in Ukraine and the energy crisis which let to astronomical prices of oil and liquified-natural-gas (LNG), Malta’s on-and-off relationship with oil exploration, which was stalled for a decade, is seeing an upstream application being evaluated by the Government continental shelf department.
Times of Malta reported on 16th December that the Government is ‘evaluating’ an application for a new oil exploration license, which would be issued if it were approved. The recent PMC excluded the use of the EEZ for upstream exploration, with the objective being an accelerated roll-out of renewable energy projects.
Since the previous two exploration licenses expired this year (without any positive results), that would leave the license currently being evaluated as the only active one. Additionally, Malta’s geological map was updated after 29 years, and was funded by funds obtained through oil exploration. This may be useful for future energy projects.
While news of Cyprus’ success story with offshore natural gas deposits could spark envy, a better approach (and also a new year’s resolution) may be, not to mourn what could have been done in the past, but to look forward beyond it, toward a sustainable future which leaves a legacy for future generations.
In other words, readers please stay tuned to our upcoming bitpod sessions which are being organised by our advisory department on various socio-economic topics, starting January 2023.
Most excitingly, PKF Malta is bringing together a renewable energy business breakfast for all interested stakeholders, which is expected to feature representatives from banks, industry, policy, and financial services. We are eager to continue being helpful in a modest way to shaping Malta’s future, especially when it comes to renewable energy and the opportunities it brings to our island. At present, due to lack of trying, Malta may not be rich in oil and gas, but this year has shown that its vision, dreams, and ambitions are abundant.
PKF Malta wishes all readers happy holidays and a great start to 2023.
PKF Malta is a fast-growing, progressive firm specialising in audit & assurance, tax, advisory services, and internal audit insurance. PKF Malta is known for its dedication, professionalism, and enthusiasm to serve clients. Get in touch with us today via email at: [email protected] or contact us here.
In a major investment, BMIT will be acquiring a network of cellular towers from GO plc across Malta