A Renewable Energy Community in Malta?

A Renewable Energy Community in Malta?

In May, we organised a screening of the documentary ‘We the Power’ and a discussion on Community Energy together with the Marsaskala Residents Network, at Jacob’s Brew cafe in Marsakala. We were joined by Victor Fiorini from the Malta Co-operative Federation, alongside residents from Marsaskala and other interested citizens for a discussion on the prospects of community energy and renewable energy in Malta.

The ‘We the Power’ documentary chronicles local cooperatives from deep in Germany’s Black Forest to the streets of ancient Girona in Spain and the urban rooftops of London, England, as they pave the way for a renewable-energy revolution and build healthier, more financially stable communities.

A renewable energy community is a group that is legally formed and operates based on voluntary participation. It is controlled by individuals or organizations who are located near renewable energy projects owned by the community. The members of this community can be individuals, small businesses, or local government bodies such as municipalities. The main goal of a renewable energy community is to benefit the environment, economy, and society in the areas where it operates, rather than focusing solely on making financial profits.

At the event, we discussed the possibility of creating a renewable energy community in Malta. In the context of Malta, it is now possible for energy communities to be set up to harness the country’s renewable energy potential, such as solar or wind power. For the first renewable energy community, we can get inspiration from energy communities in other countries!

For example, look at the energy cooperative EnerGent in Belgium. Many people in the neighbourhood live in rented apartments and older houses that may not be suitable for the installation of private solar panels. However, EnerGent has found a solution for this problem. The project ‘Buurzame Stroom’ (‘neighbourly renewable electricity’) has installed solar PV panels across a district in Gent, to increase renewable energy production in the district and set up an innovative business model for collective self-consumption.

Members of the energy cooperative EnerGent, Belgium

Another example is the Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Cooperative in Denmark. In Middelgrunden, Denmark, the Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Cooperative (co-owned by 8,800 citizens) owns half of the 20 offshore wind turbines, which altogether produce around 99,000 MWh per year, providing electricity to more than 40,000 households in Copenhagen. When citizens participate directly in the capital investment in offshore wind they not only have some dividends from it, but primarily benefit by using the renewable energy themselves and use the revenues to provide cooperative services such as electric car sharing, renovation projects, or raising awareness about the energy transition and energy demand.

The Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Cooperative, Denmark

What are your thoughts on renewable energy communities? We believe it can really change the way we view energy by incorporating active community participation as a core value. We are looking to drive this forward together, and make the first renewable energy community in Malta a reality!

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