The last semester of the ENERSELVES project was packed with activities for MIEMA which revolved around stakeholder engagement and promotion of lessons learnt from the ENERSELVES project. Following the organisation of the Malta Interregional Event held at the end of April, which finally allowed all the project partners and national stakeholders to meet in the island of Gozo, the agency embarked on a national campaign to promote a sustainable renewable energy community model.
MIEMA has been actively working on the concept of renewable energy communities for the islands since 2015 and launched two pilot studies in the island of Gozo in collaboration with the Ministry for Gozo and the local council of San Lawrenz. The latter pilot project, which involved 15 buildings located in the small Gozitan village, was presented by the Mayor of San Lawrenz during the ENERSELVES final conference held in Sweden in June.
A number of barriers have been identified which limit the potential for the deployment of renewable energy communities in Malta as a result of the electricity distribution and supply system and electricity tariffs. On the other hand, since the introduction of support schemes in the form of feed-in tariffs, Malta’s regulatory framework supported self-consumption and ensured that there would be no legal or technical barriers to renewable self-consumption. Additionally, the Regulator for Energy and Water Services launched a set of grants to promote the uptake of photovoltaic installations equipped with battery energy storage systems in 2021. This latest measure, which has been selected by MIEMA as a national good practice for the ENERSELVES project, further promoting renewable energy self-consumption and investment in technologies which improve the flexibility and financial feasibility of renewable energy communities.
MIEMA is now working on the promotion of a renewable energy community model based on the Spanish “Solar Smart Community” good practice presented by the ENERSELVES lead partner AGENEX. The proposed model shall enable residents that cannot invest directly in the installation of a photovoltaic system to buy “renewable energy shares” from larger centralized PV systems installed in their vicinity, such as public schools and government administration buildings. The model is very relevant to the Maltese scenario due to the steady increase in high rise multi-family buildings which makes it difficult for residents to install photovoltaic systems due to the lack of available roof space.
The renewable energy community model has been promoted through several networking activities, training sessions as well as during a national seminar organised by the Local Councils' Association at the end of June 2022 which brought together over 40 local stakeholders from local and regional authorities. MIEMA shall be presenting the proposed model and final project results to the ENERSELVES stakeholder group members which will held in Gozo later this month.