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Sunday, November 9, 2008

National Energy Efficiency Action Plan aims for three per cent consumption cut by 2010

National Energy Efficiency Action Plan aims for three per cent consumption cut by 2010by David LindsayThe National Energy Efficiency Action Plan tabled in Parliament last night during the budget speech aims to cut national energy consumption by three per cent come 2010 and by nine per cent by 2016.The plan incorporates conservation measures introduced for the domestic sector – such as rebates on efficient appliances, solar water heaters, insulation subsidies and the promotion of energy saving lighting.It also incorporates tertiary level measures – such as improvements in street lighting and public sector initiatives – and the industrial sector including support schemes for SMEs and new targets for government-owned enterprises.Transport also figures into the equation through promotion of energy efficient driving and e-work or teleworking, green travel plans for the public sector and the promotion of electric vehicles.Through the various initiatives, the government aims to cut energy consumption, which averages 4,196 gigawatt hours, by 126 GWh (or three per cent) by 2010 and by 378 GWh (nine per cent) by 2016.The domestic sectorIn terms of the domestic sector, the government scheme giving rebates on energy efficient appliances, which was terminated this year, was “very successful” with a rebate having been given with respect to some 45,000 appliances. In terms of expected annual consumption savings thanks to the scheme, the government cites a “market transformation” to energy efficient products, save for the case of air conditioners, where a large amount of “cheap equipment imported from outside the EU with poor energy classifications” having inundated the market.Through the different rebates given on the purchase of solar water heaters, beginning in 2005 and continuing in 2009, the government proposed the measure to yield 27,000 installed units, in addition to an estimated 10,000 already installed by the end of 2007 – resulting in total annual savings of 13 GWh. But, the action plan notes, changes to Malta’s housing stock, in terms of the availability of roof space, in the future may lead to restrictions on penetration levels.Microgeneration of electricity from renewable energy sources – through microwind and photovoltaic systems are not expected to exceed consumption savings of 7 GWh by 2016, unless the prices of PV systems fall dramatically.The subsidising of roof insulation, meanwhile, is expected to yield minimal savings due to an anticipated low take up.The promotion of compact fluorescent lamps, according to the plan, will see the government distributing free of charge one million CFLs to households. The initiative could be expected to save as much as 25 to 35 GWh over the life of each bulb, while a multiplier effect is also assumed through participants expected to replace spent CFL rather than with incandescent bulbs.The tertiary sectorWhile no precise targets were supplied, the public sector has embarked on a wide-ranging consumption conservation programme involving green leaders, energy audits for government departments, green public procurement, new school and hospital construction policy, energy saving measures in Housing Authority schemes and the implementation of renewable energies in all government ministries.Changes in street lighting are expected to yield savings in the region of one GWh per year in 2010 and increase to four GWh per year by 2014. According to trials carried out by Enemalta, on street light dimming technologies, in which different dimming levels are used at different periods, average savings of 35 per cent can be attained. The Malta Transport Authority is also testing, opting for and part-procuring LED technologies for the street lighting under its remit. Discussions on implementing the plan is still ongoing given the fact that responsibility for street lighting is divided between local councils, the ADT and Enemalta.The plan as regards industry ranges from Water Services Corporation initiatives to other government-owned industries, to support schemes for industry and SMEs, to a modernisation of agricultural holdings.TransportMeasures for the transport sector include advisory services on energy efficient driving, energy efficiency services at petrol stations, promoting e-work and telemarketing, green travel plans for the public sector and the promotion of electric vehicles.The government proposes a modal shift in terms of transport including the development of cycling lanes and racks, public transport efficiency, restrictions on access to Valletta, and free entry to Valletta for motorcycles and electric cars.In promoting energy efficient driving, the plan provides for the provision of advisory services on energy saving measures, the dissemination of public information on eco-driving through driving schools, vehicle repairers, car retailers and at VRT test sites, and the development of an intelligent traffic management system.The government is to also investigate whether petrol stations would be able to provide cost effective energy efficiency services such as compressed air for tyres, information and/or engine checks. Activities along these lines are to begin in 2009.E-working and teleworking are also expected to be given a leg up through the plan. Guidelines for the public sector have been issued, and several entities are trying the system out on a trial basis. The measure, according to the plan, could have a significant impact.Similarly, green travel plans for the public sector are being aimed primarily at government employees and large employers in the Valletta/Floriana area. The initiative will bring about a reduction in car usage and an increase in alternative modes of transport such as walking, cycling or using public transport.Furthermore, it will also promote road safety and personal security, especially where road cyclists and pedestrians are concerned.Finally, the green travel plan will promote a healthier living environment by providing more environmentally friendly modes of travel
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