Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party is surprised that whereas Minister George Pullicino's rhetoric gives the impression that government is investing in renewable energy, government has decided not to issue the grants programme for the installation of photovoltaic panels on houses this year. AD said this is socially unjust, environmentally senseless and is causing uncertainty to providers of such systems.
Ralph Cassar, AD spokesperson for Energy, IT and Transport, said: "The very fact that there is no long-term financing scheme, and the fact that people are left wondering year after year if grants will be granted show that despite rhetoric government is not giving priority to the alternative energy sector.”
"To add insult to injury the people and households who would benefit most if they are helped to move to a renewable energy source were never offered schemes tailor made to their situation. Here again, the government is failing to realize the benefit to society as a whole, of shielding the most vulnerable from the price fluctuations of fossil fuels. One-size-fits-all and one-off schemes are regressive and do not target spending to those who need most help. Those whose financial means are limited should be assisted in installing PV panels through introducing the possibility to repay the portion of the grant exclusively through the sale of the extra energy generated to Enemalta. Government is also ignoring those who cannot make use of such energy, because of penthouses and permits for development of high buildings overshadowing existing properties.”
Without a long-term plan Malta is once again being confirmed as Europe's laggard in an important and emerging economic sector. It is an undeniable fact that energy costs will continue in the face of dwindling resources, affecting mostly lower and middle income groups as they will have to spend a disproportionately large part of their disposable income on energy.
Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson said, "Instead of introducing token schemes with restricted numbers of beneficiaries, a universal scheme with subsidies for low and middle income earners should be introduced. Government should also shoulder all costs for such energy in social housing, housing estates and other deprived areas. This will not only help ensure greater access to clean energy, but will also create green jobs. The savings on consumption of fossil fuel will more than compensate for the cost.”
“The longer Malta remains dependent on dirty energy like oil, the higher the social, economic and environmental costs for Maltese society”.