Participation in the Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum

The Commissioner for Environment and Planning Perit Alan Saliba joined the Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum organized by the CE4EU Islands Secretariat in Pantelleria, Italy.  The CE4EU Islands Secretariat was established by the European Commission and the European Parliament in 2018 with political backing from a declaration signed by Malta and other 13 EU countries.

This project is in its third phase of implementation where 30 islands and island groups from all around Europe have been chosen for support in achieving a fully renewable energy supply by 2030.  Being one of these 30 islands, Pantelleria boasts of a hybrid power system backed with a battery storage installation and solar farm that is in the process of being expanded further.  Despite a low population of 7,000 and being as large as Gozo, Pantelleria and Malta have very similar meteorological and geographical characteristics with both their economies highly dependent on tourism.

Many of the 2,200 european islands and the 20 million islanders depend on expensive fossil fuel and energy imports for their energy supply despite having access to extensive solar, wind and wave renewable energy sources.  The EU4EU Islands Secretariat is assisting EU islands in devising, preparing and implementing decarbonisation plans for their energy systems.

In Pantelleria the Commissioner also attended a workshop entitled “Impacts from onshore and offshore wind energy” highlighting various challenges encountered by EU islands, particularly Malta with its high population density being surrounded by extremely deep waters.  Information on new technologies and the extravagant costs of floating wind farms when compared to the costs of onshore wind technologies should shift Malta’s priorities towards exploring onshore wind installations outside its territory particularly now that its grid connection to mainland Europe will benefit from a second interconnector.

In September 2024 the CE4EU Secretariat will issue a call for new follower islands to continue building on its 30 islands for 2030 initiative, fostering technical aid and knowledge in other EU islands as well.  Although it is extremely challenging if not impossible for Malta and Gozo to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, proposing a similar initiative for an island project that is in the pipeline can provide a great opportunity to establish a benchmark project on how carbon neutrality can be achieved whilst pushing up Malta’s share of renewable energy.  Manoel island is an island within an island, located in the harbour with a vast historical content that offers a great setting to learn from and compare ways how natural resources and clean energy were successfully managed by our ancestors.  The Office of the Ombudsman offers its full support in implementing such a strategy not only to reduce the demand for energy in such a project by implementing high energy performing buildings and smart mobility options, but also in introducing renewables for the production of energy on site.

Media Releases