MediaToday
News | Wednesday, 03 June 2009

AD says green energy can create 545 new jobs

Charlot Zahra

Alternattiva Demokatika (AD) yesterday presented a proposal for the construction of 40 floating offshore wind-farms off Sikka l-Bajda, the installation of 50,000 solar panels and 5,000 photovoltaic units over the next five years, which would create at least 545 green jobs in Malta.
AD spokesperson Ralph Cassar said that the party was in favour of a mix of different sources of energy.
“Today, as one example of the potential of creating new jobs in the sector of wind farms only, we are presenting a scenario in which all the 10 per cent from renewable energy by 2020 according to the Renewables Directive is obtained from wind, amounting to approximately 338,000 MWh of electrical energy,” Cassar told journalists.
He explained how this demand could be met by installing approximately forty 3.6 megawatt wind turbines of off-shore platforms. Part of this amount could be also obtained from land-based wind farms.
Such an offshore platform wind farm would cost a little bit more than €390 million spread over 25 years and would generate electricity at €0.083 per unit, as against the current energy costs for Enemalta at €0.17 per unit.
“This is even cheaper than energy generated from oil and that is excluding the social costs of pollution and other hidden costs,” Cassar insisted.
Such a venture had potential in the employment sector, since these wind turbines would have to be assembled on-shore and would require periodic maintenance, he said.
According to the America Wind Energy Association, the job figure for land based wind farms was of 4.8 jobs per MW installed. “Hence, it was estimated this project could create from 160 to 230 full-time jobs in the medium-term,” Cassar explained.
He added that this was “a conservative estimate and did not take into account the possibility of jobs if wind turbines are actually manufactured in Malta for the international market”.
Moreover, a wind farm off the Northern coast of Gozo could also create much needed jobs in the region.
“It is a well known fact that no industry in Malta caters for the Maltese market only and these jobs can be sustained if wind turbines are manufactured in Malta,” the AD spokesperson insisted.
The demand in this sector was high and Malta “should grab this opportunity to grab a part of the market which can provide jobs for a significant number of people from labourers, to technicians to engineers for years to come,” Cassar added.
“The number of people employed in this sector could only increase,” he said.
AD has also proposed schemes to have 50,000 solar water heaters and 5,000 photovoltaic panels installed in Malta and Gozo in the next five years.
On his part, AD Chairperson and MEP candidate Arnold Cassola said: “It is important that we develop such projects to ensure increased job creation through solar water heating, photovoltaic and wind energy”.
The AD chief insisted that one had to ensure that these appliances and equipment were in the long run manufactured and produced locally. “This will also create sustainable jobs throughout the value chain and reduce the cost of these technologies,” he added.
AD endorser Prof. Edward Mallia, from the University of Malta’s Physics Department lamented that at present, the feed-in tariffs offered by Enemalta Corporation was disadvantageous for the consumer, with the Corporation paying one kWh unit for each KWh unit purchased from the consumer, thus disincentivising the uptake of alternative energy sources.
“For instance, Germany and Italy offer a feed-in tariff of 1:3, paying the price of three units for each unit purchased from the consumer, making the purchase of alternative energy units a more attractive for consumers,” Mallia insisted.

czahra@mediatoday.com.mt

 

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03 June 2009
ISSUE NO. 585

Malta Today

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