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European Commission praises Malta’s ‘convincing’ efforts in the transition towards better energy security

The European Commission has welcomed the draft presented by Malta as part of its update to the National Energy and Plan, first presented in 2019. In its assessment of Malta, the European Commission outlined five main areas of positive development, whilst setting out recommendations on how the plan – to be presented in its final version in June 2024 – can be further improved. 

The Commission delivered positive remarks on Malta’s ongoing work in energy security, decarbonising transport, international commitments under the Paris Agreement, non-CO2 emissions and research and innovation sectors. It acknowledged Malta’s convincing efforts in further enhancing the energy security dimension with unprecedented investments and policies across the Energy Sector.

Specifically, the Commission described the energy security plan as “convincingly” setting out targets and policies to enhance the security of energy supply through the deployment of renewables and efficiency measures, among others. On non-CO2 emissions, it welcomed plans to address methane emissions in waste management and N20 emissions from the agricultural sector, including manure management. On research and innovation, the Commission lauded the Malta-Cyprus initiative to spearhead research and innovation activities. 

As part of its draft plan, Malta also set out a plan for large-scale deployment of zero-and low-emission mobility, transport and vehicles, including the shore-to-ship project which have already powered up three cruise liners. 

As with the other country-specific reports, the European Commission listed five areas where more information is needed in the plan, ahead of the June submission. 

The Maltese government has reiterated its commitment towards supporting households and businesses against the fluctuations in the international price of oil, choosing price stability over economic instability. Maintaining its policy of price stability in the energy sector is of primary interest to the government, also as a tool to fight inflation, thus safeguarding consumers, particularly the most vulnerable.

Malta has set an ambitious plan for deploying renewable energy despite its limited land size. The country aims to utilise other potential resources such as our abundant seas to support renewable energy deployment. The Maltese government is committed to developing an offshore renewable energy industry to transition towards climate neutrality by 2050. As part of this commitment, an offshore policy framework document was launched earlier this year for public consultation. 

Malta also remains committed to enabling the green transition in the Buildings Sector as noted in the draft NECP. Predominantly, in July 2023, the Government issued a public consultation on the improved Energy Efficiency standards to increase the energy performance in buildings while also embarking on the introduction of a legislative framework to mandate the installation of Renewable Energy Sources on buildings reaching maximum height limitations.

In terms of adaptation for climate action, as highlighted in the draft NECP plan, vulnerability assessments will be carried out to identify those areas that require more attention. This will allow adaptation goals to tackle climate vulnerabilities through ongoing vulnerability risk assessments. 

The country reports were issued as part of the European Commission’s progress on adaptation to meet the European Union’s climate-neutrality objective by 2050. 

For the first time in four years, Member States have been asked to review and submit updates of their national plans, to meet the increased energy and climate targets and objectives under the European Green Deal, the European Climate Law, the ‘Fit for 55’ package and the 2022 REPowerEU Plan. The European Commission noted that Member States are on the right track, even though there exist ambition gaps to achieve increased targets and objectives for 2030 in climate and energy policies. The Commission, however, acknowledged that there was a short time between the finalisation of the Fit for 55 package and the submission of the draft updated NECPs.