Renewable energy and carbon capture

Renewable energy consumption, policy and general regulation

Give details of the production and consumption of renewable energy in your country. What is the policy on renewable energy? Describe any obligations on the state and private parties for renewable energy production or use. Describe the main provisions of any scheme for registration of renewable energy production and use and for trade of related accounting units or credits.

Total final energy consumption of renewable energy systems (RES) in Malta in 2017 amounted to 431GWh, which equates to 7 per cent of gross final energy consumption. The government’s policy is to fully exploit all reasonable potential indigenous sources of RES to achieve Malta’s 2020 RES target of a 10 per cent share in gross final consumption of energy. PV technology was demonstrated to be the most robust and fastest-growing of all technologies, owing much to the characteristics of Malta in relation to solar intensity but also to the successful history of public and government initiatives to promote the technology to its maximum reasonable potential. There was a sharp increase in the uptake of PV between 2010 and 2017, with the total cumulative installed capacity at the end of 2017 standing at just over 112MWp. Successful PV deployment has happened largely due to national incentives offered through various schemes, including European Regional Development Fund co-financed grants and attractive feed-in-tariffs.

Currently, the largest contribution of renewable energy is provided by solar PVs, contributing around 36 per cent of renewable energy in 2017, followed by heat pumps with 22 per cent, the use of biofuels in the transport sector at 21 per cent and solar water heaters contributing 13.6 per cent.

Malta, as a member of the EU, must achieve certain targets by 2020, namely 10 per cent final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 and a 10 per cent cut in GHG emissions from 1990 levels. Specific to the transportation sector, there is a sub-target of a 10 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2020 from 1990 levels. This target is expected to be met largely through the promotion of biodiesel and bio-ethanol. Malta has a biofuels target that requires a minimum biofuel content as a percentage of the total energy content of fuel placed on the market.

Wind energy

Describe, in general terms, any regulation of wind energy.

Malta has no specific regulation on wind energy. Although it has studied the possibility of wind energy, there are no wind farms as yet in Malta.

Solar energy

Describe, in general terms, any regulation of solar energy.

The introduction of the feed-in tariff for solar photovoltaic systems in 2010 led to a sharp increase in uptake of PV in the past decade. The Electricity Generated from Solar Photovoltaic Installations Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 545.27), enacted in September 2010, sets feed-in tariffs for the electricity generated by PV installations connected to the grid, including those systems benefiting from a capital grant. New feed-in tariffs were published during 2013 and are revised regularly to ensure a reasonable return on investment and avoid overcompensation as market prices of new systems change.

The installation of a PV system may require both a development planning permit from the Planning Authority and a generating licence from the Regulator for Energy and Water Services. In November 2015, the Planning Authority issued a new set of guidelines where one of its objectives was to further support the uptake of solar technologies within the curtilage of buildings. These new guidelines encourage the introduction of PV at ground level within backyards, within the building fabric, in surface car parks and other open spaces, particularly those within non-residential development. Subject to compliance with the guidelines, no specific planning permits are required. However, PV installations that fall outside the scope of these guidelines require a planning permit.

A system of fast-track permitting was also adopted by the REWS for PVs not larger than 16 amps per phase to facilitate the installation of these systems and their connection to the grid. Larger PV systems (greater than 16 amps per phase) still require authorisation by the REWS prior to construction and, once commissioned, a licence to operate is required prior to connection to the grid. These systems may also require a grid connection study to be carried out by Enemalta plc (Malta’s distribution system operator) to ensure seamless integration with the network.

While PV contributes the largest share of renewables in Malta’s final energy consumption, solar water heaters (SWH) also make a notable contribution with a share of 13.6 per cent. SWHs are favoured by the high solar intensity prevalent in Malta and they eliminate a good percentage of energy consumption otherwise going towards water heating in the residential and, to a lesser extent, the commercial sector. Since 2005, a number of grant schemes have been provided to promote the use of solar water heaters for households, increasing RES-H generation by an average of 3.8GWh per year. Nevertheless, there has been a downward trend in recent years in the uptake of SWH installations. This could be attributed to the consumer shift towards PV systems, as well as to developments in the construction and renovation of buildings, linked with limited roof accessibility.

Hydropower, geothermal, wave and tidal energy

Describe, in general terms, any regulation of hydropower, geothermal, wave or tidal energy.

Malta does not specifically regulate hydropower, geothermal, wave and tidal energy.


Describe, in general terms, any regulation of production of energy based on waste.

Regulation on production of energy based on waste does not currently exist. At present there are no waste-to-energy plants in Malta, however the government has recently included in its waste management policy a waste-to-energy plant and recently issued a tender for consultancy services in connection with this project.

Biofuels and biomass

Describe, in general terms, any regulation of biofuel for transport uses and any regulation of biomass for generation of heat and power.

Biomass for generation of heat and power is not regulated under Maltese law. Malta does not have the land area required to cultivate biomass energy crops to any practical extent. Besides this, fertility of the soil is low and water is scarce. Together with Cyprus, Malta has the highest water stress index in Europe, and among the highest in the world. Furthermore, Malta’s heating demand is limited and current policy is to promote high-efficiency electricity-based heating utilising heat pump technology where applicable, which achieves the highest overall fuel efficiency while taking advantage of the decarbonisation of the generation sector. Nevertheless, biomass comprising primarily of wood charcoal, fuel wood and wood pellets is imported into Malta and used for heating purposes by approximately 12,000 households that have a wood or pellet burning stove or fireplace, as well as a small number of establishments in the services sector and industry.

As stated above, crops grown for the purpose of producing biofuel require large expanses of land, fertile soil and an abundant supply of water. Malta has none of these, making it difficult to cultivate biofuel crops domestically. At present, biodiesel is the only biofuel available on the market in Malta. It was introduced in Malta in 2003. Biodiesel consumption saw a steady increase until 2007, which can be mainly attributed to a higher availability from fuel stations and its lower price at the pump. However, consumption declined between 2007 and 2010 despite the increase in the prices of petroleum products. In a report published by the MRA, the factors that could have led to this decline in consumption include the difficulty in accessing pre-blended biofuel and concerns on the quality of biofuel, among others. It must be noted that during this period, fuel stations were only allowed to store and sell B100 biodiesel, with the fuel effectively being blended during refuelling. Eventually two of the three local producers of biodiesel closed down. To reverse this trend, regulation was introduced in 2011 to boost the use of biofuels. This introduced a substitution obligation for importers and wholesalers of automotive fuels whereby market players were now obligated to place on the market a minimum amount of biofuel content calculated as a percentage of the total EN228 petrol and EN590 diesel imported or wholesaled. The percentage was set at 1.5 per cent for 2011, and expected to reach 10 per cent by 2020.

The biofuels currently used in Malta are biodiesel FAME (fatty acid methyl esther) and HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil). Biodiesel FAME has to meet the quality standard requirements of EN 14214 and HVO has to meet the quality standard requirements of MS EN 15940. In 2017, UCO (used cooking oil) showing low emission factors was already used as feedstock for biodiesel and partly for HVO. The other feedstock for HVO was palm oil (process not specified).

Carbon capture and storage

Describe, in general terms, any policy on and regulation of carbon capture and storage.

Malta has no regulation or policy on carbon capture and storage.