Last Updated on Friday, 20 January, 2023 at 3:37 pm by Andre Camilleri
Malta’s renewable energy share languished at 12.2% in 2021, which, despite being higher than ever recorded previously, leaves the country as the second worst performer in Europe.
Data by published by the European Union’s statistics body Eurostat shows that only Luxembourg ranks lower than Malta in terms of how much of its energy consumption comes from renewable sources.
Across the EU in 2021, consumption of energy from renewable sources was recorded at 21.8%, which was a 0.3% decrease from the previous year and the first ever decrease recorded.
To put this in context, the target currently set for 2030 by the 2018 directive on promoting the use of clean energy was set at 32%, indicating that there’s work yet to be done.
According to data from Eurostat, Sweden tops the rank with the highest amount of clean energy use in Europe, recorded at 62.6%; followed by Finland (43.1%), Latvia (42.1%), Estonia (37.6%), and Austria (36.4%).
Malta, despite the strides forward it has made in increasing its clean energy consumption, comes second to last in the ranking with 12.2% of the country’s energy currently coming from a renewable source; only Luxembourg, at 11.7%, ranks lower.
The EU average hovers at 21.8%.
Malta’s clean energy as a percentage of total consumption has increased from 2.8% in 2012 (when records began being taken) to 12.2% in 2021, translating to an increase of roughly one percentile point per year.
As part of the EU’s ambitious Green New Deal, Malta has set a target to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050, but at current rates, Malta would reach the target just after the turn of the next century in 2100.
Further, it must be noted that Malta’s strategy for achieving carbon neutrality involves the purchase of carbon credits from other countries to offset Malta’s own fossil fuel emissions.
Between 2013 and 2020, Malta purchased €1.4 million worth of “annual emissions allocations” (AEA’s) from Bulgaria, which financed the creation of solar farms in Bulgaria, followed by the purchase of €2 million euros worth of tax credits from Estonia in early 2020.
It was the purchase of these credits that saw Malta surpass its renewable energy target for 2020.
Notwithstanding the purchase of carbon credits, one of the main drivers of Malta’s increased clean energy has been the growth of solar power, which accounts for 97% of all renewable energy.
In recent years, Malta has seen a significant expansion in the number of solar panels installed on homes and businesses, as well as the construction of large-scale solar power plants. This has led to a significant increase in the amount of electricity generated from solar energy, which now accounts for the majority of Malta’s renewable energy production.
Malta has made significant progress in increasing its renewable energy consumption over the past 5 years, although it still has some way to go to reach the EU average. The country has been actively promoting the use of renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy, and has set ambitious targets for the future.