I refer to the article by Anne Zammit entitled ‘Grants proposed for hot water solar heaters’ (The Sunday Times of Malta, October 25).
Throughout the article, reference is made to energy obligations for buildings, the national plan for zero-energy buildings and the Energy Efficiency Directive. It is important to highlight that while the latter (Energy Efficiency Directive) falls within the remit of the Ministry for Energy and Water Management, the other two documents are part of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive which are within the remit of the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Projects.
In line with existing national plans for energy efficiency and renewable energy, the government has been supporting the installation of solar water heaters, roof insulation and double gazing in households through a grant on capital investment for a number of years. The government also recently launched a scheme to promote the installation of heat pump water heaters in households, which is an option that can be considered by households with no access to the rooftop.
PVs are the main RES technology for the Maltese Islands and in 2016 the government launched Malta’s first communal solar farm. This project saw the participation of 370 households with no access to a rooftop. The concept of communal farms can be easily replicated by the private sector for the benefit of more households.
Energy auditing is also a tool promoted by the European Commission as a means for enterprises and households to be aware of their consumption and to take action accordingly. However unlike what is said in the article there are no plans to introduce obligatory energy audits for SMEs.
In the household sector a programme exists to raise awareness among households on energy usage. Flyers are being mailed to all households, whereby they are being offered a free-of-charge visit by technical personnel who engage in discussions in order to understand energy usage and thus provide energy conservation tips.
Households are also given a booklet highlighting energy efficiency tips for future reference. Over these two years 1,605 households were visited, and in some cases help will be given to replace old appliances like refrigerators or washing machines.
Schemes for enterprises are mainly administered by Malta Enterprise but the in the past months the Energy and Water Agency has served as a technical consultant for a scheme aimed at making available financial programmes for enterprises to invest in energy efficiency. This scheme is set to be launched by the end of the year. Earlier in 2017, the government launched a scheme for micro-SMEs to carry out a free energy audit in their premises.
Furthermore, the Energy and Water Agency together with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is implementing a project, entitled Investing in Energy, which aims to bring about an improvement in energy efficiency within SMEs falling within NACE codes C (manufacturing) and G (wholesale and retail). The project not only includes a small number of energy audits but also several informative workshops on energy efficiency topics aimed at increasing national knowledge and capacity targeted at both SMEs and non-SMEs, where they are able to share best practices.
Investing in Energy is also one of the actions taken by the agency to generate needed data and information to inform policy decisions and actions for 2030. The Ministry for Energy and Water Management is coordinating the drafting of Malta’s National Energy and Climate Plan. The plan will integrate the five dimensions of the Energy Union, namely decarbonisation, energy efficiency, security of supply, internal energy market and research and innovation and will set clear objectives for 2030 through the collaboration of all relevant ministries, entities and stakeholders.