Government should avoid binding agreement over new gas plant – Ryan Callus

Nationalist MP Ryan Callus urges government to avoid binding agreements with developer of proposed gas plant that binds Malta to purchase all energy generated

Nationalist MP Ryan Callus
Nationalist MP Ryan Callus

Nationalist MP Ryan Callus has urged the Labour government to avoid being bound by a deal with the contractor developing the proposed gas plant that obliges the government to purchase all the energy generated by the plant.

Callus, the youngest MP on the Opposition benches, was speaking during his maiden address in the House of Representatives that was largely dedicated to the energy sector and Labour's proposed gas plant. 

Callus said that it is in the national interest that Malta makes greater use of the energy available through interconnector than is currently proposed by Labour, and any agreement that limits this would  be "a mistake."

"The government must be able to use the interconnector properly. It is not enough that government says it is in favour of the project," Callus said.

He argued that the interconnector's 20% usage rate as proposed by the Labour Party's energy mix would mean that the country would not be getting its money's worth out of the €180 million project.

"It is a very low usage given an investment so large, and will mean inefficient usage. This will reflect badly as the cost of the expenditure will be passed onto consumers than if it were to be used more."

He argued that if the Maltese government had to limit this usage specifically because of an agreement binding the country to rely solely on the proposed gas plant for 40% of its energy "we would be wasting money."

"While there is still time, I call on government to consider avoiding binding ourselves by harsh conditions with contractors which would bind our hands and prohibit the good and efficient usage of the interconnector investment," Callus said.

"Entering into a decision that would not allow us to do this would be a mistake," he insisted.

Callus also invited the Labour government to table the documentation that led to its decision that the development of the gas plant, arguing that given how the electoral campaign is now over, there is no justification for delaying this.

"I don't see why [Infrastructure Minister] Joe Mizzi has any reason to keep the studies hidden given that the election is now over. Less than that, he has no right to hide them given how the decision will now be implemented with taxpayer money," Callus said.

Callus also called on government to respect EU regulations and not sidestep its obligation to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment to determine the proposed gas plant's impact on the Delimara area and residents living nearby.

"This government cannot hide behind the excuse that the project is a simple extension of the existing Delimara plant," Callus said, insisting that EU regulations regarding the obligations of all EU member states are clear in this regard.

He also emphasised the desirability of shifting more and more of Malta's energy requirements on the interconnector, as this would mean that Malta would rely less and less on energy produced in Malta.

Callus said that this would not only mean that Malta would benefit from cleaner air and less pollutant emissions, but also cheaper energy.

Following his maiden address, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat crossed the room to shake Callus' hand.

 

 

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Would this young engineer MP (whom I thought would bring some positive vibes to the table) recommend to PL to go the GonziPN's way with BWSC re EU conformity regulations, and contractual agreements, and/or prior studies indicating that HFO is the least health harming?
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