Energy Minister launches €40 million project to regenerate San Lucjan Plant

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 March, 2022 at 7:12 pm by Andre Camilleri

Energy Minister Miriam Dalli launched a €40 million project for the regeneration of the San Lucjan plant, that will turn it into a recreational facility for families.

The plant, which was used for storing oil, will be known as ‘is-Siċċa,’ and will offer 18,000 sqm of recreational space as well as see investment in new niches.

Is-Siċċa will serve as a unique hub in the middle of the Mediterranean for research and innovation with regards to aquaculture, the blue economy, and the circular economy industries, Dalli said.

The project was designed by the internationally renowned survey company, Pininfarina, with an innovative design that not only complements the surrounding natural environment but uses natural measures for better climate conditions in the building, she said.

The project will make use of innovative technology to reach the target of up to 70% of renewable energy use and energy efficient systems, the Ministry said.

Senior Vice President in the architectural section of Pininfarina Giovanni de Niederhausern said that is-Siċċa will turn the village of Birżebbuġa into an attraction for tourists and visitors.

“Is-Siċċa is inspired by the prominent cliffs overlooking St. Lucian’s Tower; the design follows a soft, smooth gesture which connects two elements, water and earth, generating an unprecedented bond between nature and architecture. It will include various uses such as multiple commercial and recreational spaces for the local community, as well as areas for educational, research and innovation purposes, serving as an incubation space for eco and blue industries,” de Niederhausern said.

Minister Dalli said that the project will not only reduce pollution in the southern areas of Malta, but is an innovative project that will be meeting sustainability goals and have a positive impact on the environment.

From an economical standpoint, Dalli said that the project will offer spaces for startups, incubation centres for green industries and spaces allocated to education facilities. The space allocated towards industries and manufacturing will be of 7%, Dalli said. 50% of the space will be allocated for recreational uses and public spaces.

Dalli explained that in March 2021 a regulatory process started with the competent authorities so that the site would no longer be used for storing heavy fuel oil. Discussions with the Environment and Resources Authority took place about a method statement to reach an agreement over how the tanks will be removed for the preparation of the project.

Dalli said that the project offers a better quality of life for residents. She said that there will be a consultation process with the ERA, among other stakeholders.

“We want this project to be a clear example of how sustainable development should be done. We want ‘is-Siċċa’ to be a catalyst, leading by example to implement more sustainable developments of this kind,” Dalli said.

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