Last Wednesday Joseph Muscat announced four supposed “new proposals” on clean energy. These were nothing new, yet replicas of policies or initiatives that the Nationalist Government has either already acted upon or announced during the last budget which was voted against by Joseph Muscat and his colleagues.
The first “proposal”: Solar Farms. Our country is small and restricted in terms of space and land and we therefore cannot build solar farms on the scale in which other countries do. Yet we are very much in favour of smaller solar farms, so long as they are not built in ecological or aesthetically sensitive zones. During the last budget, we established a Feed In Tariff rate for systems larger than 1MW. Aside from this, we now have over 100,000m2 of roofs of public buildings that are covered with photovoltaic panels, and we spent €15 million to assist over 6,000 families to install panels on their roofs. We also spent €16 million to support 270 businesses or factories to invest in alternative energy systems. As I stated in my press conference yesterday, the list of initiatives we introduced is endless.
The second “proposal”: Provide the opportunity for families who do not have access to roofs to invest in the Solar Farm. During the budget voted against by Joseph Muscat, we stated “The Government is also finalizing a scheme wherein families who cannot install photovoltaic panels on their roofs, invest in a larger system some distance away from their residence. These will be able to benefit from clean energy generated according to the investment they make in this community system.” We proposed dedicating €19 million to assist families to install photovoltaic panels, and now that their prices have decreased, more families will be able to benefit from this scheme. Joseph Muscat voted against this budget, yet know wants to claim its initiatives.
The third “proposal”: Energy Audits in people’s homes. Muscat doesn’t seem to be aware that these are already underway in Gozo, and we have already committed to extending this throughout Malta. We have also already carried out energy audits in public buildings and are committed to spending €3 million to implement changes in Government buildings so as to set an example. This is aside from the fact that during the last budget, which Joseph Muscat voted against, we announced energy audits for sports organisations. The Labour Party voted against this, but now claims it will implement them.
The fourth “proposal”: schemes for efficient household appliances and distributing Water Saving Kits. Doesn’t he know that we already implemented such a scheme and gave 45,000 energy efficient appliances to Maltese families? Moreover, the last budget pledged providing water saving kits for all Maltese families, as we already did in Gozo. We would expect that Joseph Muscat would have the decency to say that he agrees with what Government has already delivered and will implement this Government’s budget proposals – which he and his colleagues voted against - rather than falsely claim that these are PL proposals.