EC green-lights Malta’s €140 million renewable energy plans

European Commission rules that Malta’s plans to spend €140 million on premium payments to renewable energy operators don’t violate EU state aid rules 

The European Commission has found Malta’s plans to support power generation from renewable sources to be in line with EU state aid rules.

In December last year, Malta notified the EC of plans to support operators of solar photovoltaic and onshore wind installations that will help its reach its EU2020 targets. According to the targets, renewable energy must constitute 10% of Malta’s total electricity production by 2020. By the end of 2014, only 4% of electricity production was from renewable sources.

Malta plans to grant state aid to photovoltaic energy operators in the form of a premium payment on top of the market price. Onshore wind developers will also be able to tender for support if an eligible site is approved within the next four years. €140 million will be allocated to the scheme, spread out until 2020.

The European Commission said in a statement that the scheme will increase electricity produced from renewable sources, without unduly distorting competition.

Both deputy prime minister Louis Grech and former energy minister Konrad Mizzi, now minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, issued separate statements, welcoming the European Commission’s green-lighting of the scheme.

“Malta has already achieved 4.7% of the set renewable energy targets in 2014. This approved plan will now bring in a new impetus that will drive the country in achieving its set targets,” Grech said.

Mizzi commented that the scheme will incentivise “significant investment” by the private sector in green energy.

“The government has turned around the renewable sector in the last three years and is now committed to sustain the momentum for further reducing emissions,” he said.

It also approved similar plans by Luxembourg to allocate €150 million on premium payments to operators of photovoltatic, solar, biogas, hydropower and biomass installations. 

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