The Energy and Water Agency participated in the conference organized by the Malta Business Bureau, during which, a Business Energy Cluster was launched.
The conference, which was held at the Malta LIFE Sciences Park in San Ġwann also tackled the issues faced in financing energy efficiency.
In his opening speech, EWA CEO Manuel Sapiano spoke about the benefits of energy efficiency while stating that this shouldn't be considered as an imposition at an EU level, but rather a potential to create new markets. He reiterated that energy efficiency in fact means a greener sector and lower operational costs.
Chief Policy Officer for Energy, Inġ Charles Buttigieg gave an overview of the Agency's work in this field whilst promoting the initiatives already undertaken in this regards, such as the Promotion of Energy Audits in SMEs and the Energy Efficiency Partner Initiative (EEPI). Through the EEPI, businesses sign a voluntary agreement to regularly take energy efficiency action, share their information with the Energy and Water Agency, and share best practice.
The EEPI is one of the ways in which industry can support the national, EU and global drive towards reduced emissions. Measures undertaken by EEPI business signatories are reflected in the national action plans and reporting submitted to the European Commission as part of various legislative obligations. Around 30% of Malta’s largest companies (non-SMEs) are EEPI signatories.
During the conference, the Malta Business Bureau stated that while certain energy efficiency projects where well within many business’ grasp, there were others with which businesses encountered barriers to implementation. The barriers discussed were difficulty in sourcing specific technical expertise, financing of larger projects, and administrative or bureaucratic hurdles. To tackle these issues, the MBB encouraged businesses to contact it with their desired projects for implementation and the barriers they are encountering. The MBB’s national and international network would then be tapped to overcome barriers.
Perit David Xuereb, President of the Malta Chamber, emphasized “Increased energy efficiency in the business sectors is a policy priority for Malta - European targets are ambitious, and businesses will need support if the country is to meet these targets. But energy efficiency is more than just a compliance measure - it is an important evolution in Malta's business sectors, towards increased commercial sustainability and ultimately higher productivity.”
The event included a presentation by Veronica Corno, Climate Finance and Communications officer for Base-Energy, on Energy Savings Insurance (ESI). ESI insures the performance of energy efficiency projects. This is a potentially attractive risk mitigation measure for financiers of energy efficiency projects, or the businesses implementing them.
A panel discussion on energy efficiency project financing was also held, with discussions varying from changes in demand for financing of energy efficiency projects by businesses and the relation of these changes to the 2014 transposition of the Energy Efficiency Directive, as well as insights into future financing opportunities, and what additional data or information is needed by financiers to drive financial packages facilitating the meeting of ambitious 2030 EU energy efficiency targets.