People's Daily: Chinese Enterprise Boosts Energy Reform in Malta

From the annual average power outage of almost 10 hours for local consumers with frequent blackouts to the annual power outage of less than 15 minutes with power grid reliability of 99.95%, it took the Mediterranean island of Malta five years to break the outdated energy pattern relying on traditional oil-fired power plant and facilities and realize the transformation to clean energy power generation.

 

The key to transformation lies in the construction of the Belt and Road. Since 2013, Malta has been cooperating with SEP, a subsidiary of SPIC.The case was praised by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as "a win-win model of economic and trade cooperation between Malta and China". While pursuing its own development, Malta shares its successful experience with more neighboring countries.

 

Boasting its beautiful scenery, Malta attracts tens of thousands of tourists from around the world every year. However, the country has been confronted with energy shortages and structural deficiencies. "Malta is short of natural resources, with its energy supply relying on imports and more than 63% of imported energy used for power generation," said Sheng Baojie, CEO of SEP (Malta) Holding Ltd. (SEPM). In order to optimize the energy mix, lower the electricity cost and ensure the safety and stability of power supply on the island, Malta has been actively seeking strong partners.

 

In 2013, the Energy Ministry of Malta and the former CPI signed an MOU, according to which a package of investment cooperation projects with SEP as the main investor provided technical and financial support for the transformation and upgrading of Malta's energy infrastructure.

 

"We not only contributed to Malta the first gas-fired unit on the island, but also retrofitted the internal combustion engine and upgraded the flue gas system. After the rehabilitation, Malta managed to bid farewell to heavy oil-fired power generation, with the overall power plant efficiency increased to 50% from the original 46.7%, and the NOx and CO emissions much better than the EU standard, reaching the world-leading level," said Zhang Yuanyuan, deputy CEO of SEPM.

 

As Malta's only state-owned power company, Enemalta had suffered with a number of problems such as redundant personnel, aging of most units and weak infrastructure before the transformation. Before 2015, the average annual power outage was almost 10 hours for Maltese consumers. Through over four years of diligent work in operation, integration and transformation by SEP, the non-technical line loss of Enemalta has been reduced to 4.7% from 14%, the reliability of the power grid increased to 99.95%, and the annual average power outage of the consumers lowered to less than 15 minutes, with the stability, safety, reliability and economy of the power grid substantially improved.

 

Thanks to the optimized energy mix, the Maltese government successfully fulfilled the campaign promise of reducing the power tariff for residential and commercial users by 25%, and the country's sovereign rating was upgraded to "A+" for the first time in 20 years, significantly improving its overall investment environment.

 

"Chinese enterprises have brought cutting-edge technology and advanced management experience, which has benefited the electricity reform of Malta and is of great significance to the development of the country," said Joe Mizzi, Minister for Energy and Water Management of Malta.

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