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Hexicon floating wind farm proposal fails EU funding bid
Sole Maltese applicant for €1.3 billion EU fund fails the cut, but vows to keep project alive.
27 July 2012, 12:00am
The floating wind turbine concept put forward by Hexicon AB for Sweden, Cyprus and Malta was excluded after failing the European Investment Bank's technical and financial due diligence conducted nine months ago.
But the proponents of the project insist that despite their exclusion from the first call for EU funding, the project has attracted sufficient interest and backing from financial institutions and energy companies to ensure that they can proceed with the project and will soon be forming a consortium to move ahead with the project.
Hexicon AB also revealed that the project has been invited to participate in the second call for NER-300 funding after the concept was fine tuned after the EIB's due diligence.
"The project is entirely unaffected by the European Commission's decision. We proceed as planned, and we are looking forward to continue our close cooperation with Maltese authorities towards finalising our necessary permits," CEO Ray Sciberras said.
"We have conducted several of the technical verification steps and are establishing a good dialogue with potential builders of the platform as well as financiers. The wind studies that we have done in the area show that the project is still very interesting from an investors' point of view."
A project development statement, a planning document required before the commencement of environment impact studies, for the massive offshore hexagon-shaped platform hosting 36 wind turbines, was submitted to MEPA by Hexicon AB Malta in February.
According to the report, a location on the northeast of Malta 11 nautical miles from shore, where water depths vary between 100 and 150 metres, has already been identified.
In all, 13 EU member states are set to receive NER 300 funding following an "eligibility check" by the European Commission. Under the ongoing call for proposals some three carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects and up to 16 renewable energy projects could be co-funded. It is estimated that €1.3-1.5 billion will be shared between the selected projects. In the second call the remaining 15 member states will have to share a pot that might, if carbon price remains at it current level, be half the value of the current pot.
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...