Our seas have the potential to become important sources of clean energy. Marine renewable energy, which includes offshore solar-,wind-, as well as wave-energy, provide Malta with a potential opportunity to generate economic growth and jobs and in so doing, enable Malta to fulfil its policy to create a mixed energy supply and to boost technological innovation. Another important aspect of potential economic growth lies within the future potential of oil and gas exploration. The Government of Malta has renewed its drive to pursue opportunities in this sector in a sustainable manner.
Oil and Gas Exploration
Hydrocarbon exploration is a potentially lucrative and strategically advantageous business.. The Government of Malta has demonstrated its continuing commitment towards the establishment of this industry in Malta by encouraging exploration research studies and also through promotional campaigns. The success of Hydrocarbon exploration in Malta relies upon the compilation and interpretation of research. It will be the Government’s aim to facilitate and support exploration research towards the realisation of the existing potential with a view to its development in an environmentally sustainable way.
Moreover, the Government will consider the much needed legislation regulating Malta’s Exclusive Economic Zone to further encourage industry to invest in this sector. The establishment of an EEZ whilst further enhancing the potential for the prospective development of this industry will also proportionally increase the legislative responsibilities and obligations which pertain to Malta. It is therefore a pre-requisite to successfully implementing these efforts that Government maintains the resources required to protect and safeguard Malta’s territory.
Due to the volatility of price and supply, the energy sector has been the centre of attention across the globe. Energy is a main Government priority and much work is being undertaken to not only reform the sector but also ensure a cost-effective approach throughout. There is a high-level of commitment from the Government to provide a diversified energy mix that is both reliable and affordable. The cost of producing energy automatically feeds into the retail price of all goods and services; therefore it is imperative that these costs are maintained consistently at the lowest rates possible.
Private sector involvement is an integral component in ensuring the success of these efforts. The Government will foster for Public-Private Partnership agreements to enhance growth in this sector. This sector has the potential to create a considerable number of opportunities for Malta, and also to reduce its dependency on non-renewable energy resources. This will in turn facilitate Malta in particular towards reaching international Energy and Climate obligations. In essence, this ‘Shift’ to renewable energy will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and will facilitate good environmental status.
The Government strongly considers the exploration of blue renewable energy opportunities as a means to achieving these goals. The four main blue energy areas that are being focused upon for further study are: offshore wind farms, floating photovoltaic islands, tidal wave energy conversion and blue geothermal renewable energy. The Government will continue promoting the necessary research required in order to identify the most suitable/feasible energy source for the Maltese Islands. In this regard, the Government facilitates and encourages further collaboration between research and academic institutions, such as MCST and MCAST in the implementation of new pilot projects.
In relation to the energy sector, the levels of polluting emissions must be considered and controlled. In this context, the energy sector is obliged to account for its capacity to remain environmentally sustainable. There are various international standards and regulations that govern emissions and pollution issues. Malta has been and intends to remain at the forefront in its use of the ‘Emission abatement method and technologies’, and encouraging its use aboard its registered fleet. Moreover, Government will continue to adhere to all European and international obligations and to implement efforts in achieving its environmental goals.
The reduction of ship emissions is high on the priorities list of the European Commission and will be given prominence in the coming years, in line with Government’s policy. A more proactive approach is to be adopted to promote practices that will lead to yet further reduction of emissions which originate from ships passing through Malta’s territorial waters.
Investment in research and aid directed towards the development of new energy efficient technologies within the blue sector will not only lead to reduced stress on energy resources but could also prove to be a niche market where Malta can become a leader in the relevant expertise. In realising these efforts, Malta will utilise one of its most significant resources, i.e. human capital to ‘Tap’ the potential that the Maritime sector is providing. The Government will encourage technological research with the aim of increasing energy efficiency throughout the maritime sector.