Jason Vella, CEO of Enemalta , has confirmed that the Malta-Sicily interconnector was severely damaged by a ship’s anchor on 23 December, and will be out of action until at least the end of February. The interconnector has a capacity of 200MW, just over a quarter of Malta’s total generation capacity of 753MW. While the interconnector is out of operation, Malta is relying on the LNG power station D4, which is running at full capacity; the BWSC plant D3, and two reserve turbines D2A and D2B. Enemalta is paying around €150,000 a day for the spinning reserve.
Malta is currently capable of generating 553MW, which should be enough to provide power for the island until the peak demand in the summer, but there could be capacity problems if the issue drags out into the hotter months.
A survey ship will leave on 2 January to assess the damage, with the survey expected to be completed by 8 January. Negotiations are in hand for a second ship to conduct the necessary repairs and, although no timeframe has yet been calculated, Vella estimated that repairs won’t be completed until at least the end of February. Vella confirmed that energy demand is increasing faster than anticipated, and said that a study is underway on how to diversify energy requirements.