GRTU welcomes the Energy Union Package. The Energy Union is even more important for Malta because we feel that due to the small size of Malta and lack of economies of scale we have a lot more to gain. Malta’s absolute dependency on importing oil to produce electricity and problematic and unavoidable market inefficiencies, including lack of competition, being the only member state that imports refined oil because we do not have a refinery and the added costs to secure supply, makes electricity in Malta amongst the most expensive in Europe.
We are also in favour of reforms and changes that are needed to increase energy efficiency and change to alternative energy sources. We emphasis however that the impact on SMEs must be assessed and they must be supported and SME organization should be fully involved.
GRTU supports the use of Juncker’s Plan for investments in the energy efficiency in buildings with financial and technical support of which SMEs will profit. Similar incentives should also be foreseen for SMEs outside the building sectors aiming to become more energy efficient and more sustainable. We fear that the shift to electro mobility will be expensive and thus impact negatively on the economic operators. Short-distance transport is an essential reality, especially in a country like Malta. GRTU believes that measures targeting the transport sector should be structured in order to allow SMEs to stay on the market by reconvening their activities. Increasing taxes and charges should be avoided. GRTU is wary of the consequences the proposed decarbonisation of the transport system might have on the EU’s competitiveness.
The Energy Union means in particular:
- Solidarity clause: reducing the dependence on single suppliers and fully relying on their neighbours, especially when confronted with energy supply disruptions. With more transparency when EU countries make deals to buy energy or gas from countries outside the EU;
- Energy flows, as if it were a Fifth freedom: that of free flow of energy across borders - strictly enforcing the current rules in areas such as energy unbundling and the independence of regulators – taking legal action if needed. Redesigning the electricity market, to be more interconnected, more renewable, and more responsive. Seriously overhauling state interventions in the internal market, and phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies.
- Energy efficiency first: fundamentally rethinking energy efficiency and treating it as an energy source in its own right so that it can compete on equal terms with generation capacity;
- Transition to a low-carbon society that is built to last: ensuring that locally produced energy – including from renewables – can be absorbed easily and efficiently into the grid; promoting EU technological leadership, through developing the next generation of renewables technology and becoming a leader in electromobility, while European companies expand exports and compete globally.