The new natural gas pipeline will connect Malta to the European gas network grid by 2024.
This pipeline plays a significant role in securing European energy interests in the Mediterranean region. Besides, it will end Malta’s “gas isolation”.
Malta’s electrical network was linked to Europe’s via Sicily in 2015. However, remaining on the periphery from the EU’s natural gas networks affects the security of Malta’s energy supply.
Malta benefits from one of the lowest electricity tariffs in the EU because it has been importing all its energy. Nevertheless, in the last five years, Malta has overhauled its energy sector as it has massively installed solar panels.
The Maltese aim to slash emissions by at least 50% by 2050. Thus the pipeline will help the country to cut emissions from shipping. Although the state has been looking towards hitting renewable energy goals, experts say changing the supply of natural gas could negatively affect energy prices. Nevertheless, Energy and Water Minister Joe Mizzi is confident that energy prices will remain low.
“Through a number of incentives, we have also seen a significant increase in the uptake of solar panels, and so far, Malta is very much on track to reach its 2020 Renewable Energy Target. Having said that, this overhaul was a balancing exercise for us, managing to achieve sustainable goals using cleaner energy, compared to our previous use of heavy fuel oil, and at the same time managing to maintain affordable electricity prices” said Mizzi.
The pipeline will also help Europe to solidify and diversify their energy interests in the Mediterranean region. The project is exceptionally relevant for decreasing dependence on Russian imports. This happened right after Russia stopped gas shipments for two weeks during the Ukraine crisis in 2009.