VALLETTA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Maltese government on Thursday launched a new 15-million-euro (17.6-million-U.S.-dollar) scheme to assist business investment in cleaner and more efficient energy systems.
Minister for Economy, Investment and Small Business Silvio Schembri said the scheme is meant to encourage businesses to upgrade, improve or substitute the systems they use for their heating, cooling and lighting needs.
The assistance will cover up to half the cost of high-efficiency energy systems. The scheme is open until December 2022 and requires a minimum investment of 10,000 euros and a minimum energy cost reduction of 10 percent.
Schembri said that apart from encouraging businesses to invest at a time when they were still recouping after being hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative also aims to cut down on power waste and reduce the country's emissions.
The scheme was the result of post-COVID-19 meetings with businesses to see their most pressing issues, he said.
Minister for Energy and Water Management Michael Farrugia said that such schemes are important to keep industries going but also as further reinvestment in the economy.
Also on Thursday, Malta's statistics office revealed that the country's electricity production from renewable sources increased by over 10 percent last year.
The primary source of renewable energy was through photovoltaic panels, which accounted for 97 percent of the electricity generated, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).
The figures showed that renewable energy made up 8.2 percent of electricity supply in Malta, with power plants contributing 67.8 percent of electricity.
The NSO said that in 2019, carbon dioxide emissions from power plant sources increased by six percent over 2018.
The European Union member states, including Malta, have agreed to achieve a new target of reducing at least 55 percent CO2 emissions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.
Last month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen set the target of 55 percent emission cut by 2030 in her State of the Union speech. Globally, countries like China have announced new climate targets. (1 euro = 1.17 U.S. dollars) Enditem