The service will be shut down on April 1st. Please see this page for more information.



Thursday 3rd February 2011

Alternative Energy: The wind is there, investors now needed - The Malta Independent

Wednesday 2nd February 2011

Hopes raised for reef wind farm in Mellieħa - Christian Peregin, The Times of Malta

Wind farm would generate 10% of required energy - Francesca Vella, The Malta Independent

Tuesday 1st February 2011

Studies show wind conditions good for wind farm off Mellieha - The Times of Malta online

Saturday 29th January 2011

Silent wind turbine installed in Xewkija - Annaliza Borg, The Malta Independent

The Prime Minister yesterday morning inaugurated a 4 KW vertical axis wind turbine installed by the FXB Group outside their furniture manufacturing plant at the Xewkija Industrial Estate.

The 16-metre high wind turbine, which represents a €30,000 investment, is the first of its kind in Malta, operating on a totally silent system when working at full speed. It provides enough energy to supply the adjacent 536-square metres of office space.

The wind turbine was installed in an initiative to commemorate the FXB Group’s 120th anniversary with a commitment to move to carbon neutral operations and generating all energy from renewable sources, explained Engineer Ryan Xuereb, who is in charge of the turbine’s operation.

Times, Sunday, 23rd May 2010 - 09:38CET

Underwater caves pose threat to planned wind farm

Christian Peregin
[WWW]Click here for archived article link

The discovery of two large underwater ‘caves' on the reef where the government plans to build an offshore wind farm, could pose a threat to the project.
The reef off Mellieħa was chosen as the site of Malta's first offshore wind farm because it is the only area of the seabed around the islands that is shallow enough to cater for today's technology. But if the reef turns out to be unstable or hollow in some areas, it would be extremely difficult, expensive or even dangerous to drill into the seabed to install the wind turbines.
Oxford graduate and marine geologist from the University of Malta, Aaron Micallef, 29, conducted a study of the Mellieħa reef known as Sikka l-Bajda, as part of a research project. What they found was surprising: two large perfectly circular sinkholes (or dolines). These were probably formed during an ice age, when the reef was above the sea level.
"The problem is that there may be more where these came from. It is likely that along the reef there are other caves that have not yet collapsed. And this may create problems for the wind farm project.
"The reef is full of fractures, probably because it is made of upper coralline limestone overlying a layer of blue clay, causing the limestone to slip along the softer clay, as happens in various parts of Malta's cliffy coast. Dr Micallef said:
"I don't want to be alarmist. For all I know these could be the only caves and we would be able to work around them. Further studies would obviously have to be carried out. But at least we know beforehand that we could encounter difficulties."

[WWW]Direct link to ongoing story on The Sunday Times.

Click here to leave a visible online comment about the above article, or other comments hereunder.

Readers' Online Comments

Rocco Cauchi
There is much that can be done about electricity generation than simply windmills. In our Don Quixotic approach of chasing windmills we are forgetting alternatives such as hydrogen generation (the sea around us is full of it) and algae-derived fuels (the new artificial cell development is being heralded as producing full-fledged commercial results within the next ten years).
What is really needed is for us to get away from this EU fomented target fixation and simply promise to reduce our levels to acceptable ones and wait and invest in alternative solution which would be best for our small island. Rush and hurry would not benefit anyone at all, not even the EU.
We have of late been rushed into doing many things which bigger brothers themselves have not been doing and unfortunately we have always been yes-men, bending over backwards to comply and more than the obedient servants we were in colonial times.
We have to sit and think and - most important of all - join forces. It is unfortunate to see Government and Opposition waste away their verbal energy and time on arguments rather than developing an effective energy structure for Malta. Sure we can always hope!

I love all the negative comments that we so love to make. Let us stop dreaming(sic). Let us do nothing, let us just continue to rely 100% on fossil fuels. Let us just keep thinking that if it does not burn oil and does not belch smoke then it is too 'futuristic' too 'spaceage' too 'starwars' and therefore not for us. Let us show no commitment towards a greener cleaner future, let us just be parasites and latch on to the European grid and not think further about it. Let's. After all there are not enough waves, there are not enough currents, the wind comes from the wrong direction, and the reef is full of holes, and the minister himself says that we are almost stuck.

Think of:

1) Safari tops (shade-makers) on flat roofs made of PV panels on all buildings. Create energy and reduce heat in buildings.
2) Underwater current turbines in North channel (between Gozo and Comino) known for strong current all year round.(not a deep area just 18m max.
3) Wind Farm at Old Telecom Antenna Area next to Mtahleb. (Have a look at South Italy, Greece and Croatia and their wind farms on islands or coastal shores.

I bet most of these if not all together are cheaper than Offshore wind turbines which require the expensive installation ship (check out for the discover channel Mega ship series). Maintenance that requires a large barge crane (not cheap) a tug boat or two.
These are very expensive and I am sure that if we go ahead with this Offshore Project the first thing that will happen is have an investigation to see who is being bribed into spending all this money.

Think before you act.

Wilfred Camilleri
Wind farms are not going to solve Malta's power problems. A large wind turbine can provide electricity for approximately 650 households if there is a consistent wind. Imagine how many turbines would be required to power Malta's needs. Malta would be surrounded by a jungle of wind turbines. Goodbye tourism! No tourists are going to come to be faced with a wall of wind turbines instead of a beautiful view of the sea. Wind turbines are useful for limited power supplies. Connection to the European grid is the only true solution.

Ramon Mangion
Wilfred I tend to disagree with you in that the aim in my opinion is to at least have some sort of renewable energy on this island and at least reduce the pressures put on the oil fired powerstations.

I am actually quite happy for the facrt that a number of households are reverting to solar powered heaters which shows a changing mentality.

The thinking behind green energy is that it will be provided from a combination of renewable sources: wind, waves, sun and so forth and not from just a single one as you seem to be thinking.

Alex Ellul
"California and Denmark, which have the longest experience in the field of wind power, no longer bank on wind for their future. Isn't it time for us to wise up too? before 500,000 irremovable concrete bases the size of a swimming pool are poured into the landscape from Vancouver to Auckland? before countless pylons are added to the landscape? before the horizon is marred everywhere by giant metallic structures beating the air, and the birds? and for no benefit whatsoever in terms of climate change?

It is time we study carefully the new California Energy Plan. It contains many answers."


Well Denmark has just installed 7 wind turbines to supply the energy needs for the Big belt bridge, so much for turning its back on wind energy.

Alex Ellul
"Wind plants are harmful in a number of important ways, beneficial in none, and they cost dearly to taxpayers and consumers, more still to residents in terms of property values. They are uneconomical and useless. But they are highly profitable to their promoters because they are subsidised. So much so that industry leaders have joined forces to lobby at the political, media and ecological levels, silencing the opposition with money - taxpayers' money reaped from the subventions. I know of a bird society that receives donations from electricity companies amounting to 25% of its annual budget."


Fi Grech
Although the wind farm is a laudabile idea since I'm in favour of alternative energy, I'm worried about the effect on the environment. The area is quite untouched as it is at the moment. All would be ruined if the windfarm is erected... the sight of turbines is not exactly picturesque...not to mention the sound of the huge blades...

D. Scerri
Should simply lay multiple interconnectors to Sicily and buy energy from France. Then we'd meet our EU targets 100%. And we'd have cheaper electricity. And we'd have more reliable electricity. And it would cost the country less.

If you pay taxes, you're going to end up footing the bill for this mistake.

Ian Bugeja
Wind farm technology is still in it's early days and each day new inventions and new technology gets invented and available. Like for instance if one looks at the below article it is possible to have wind turbines floating just like an oil rig.


Tonio Azzopardi
Please stop dreaming….Forget this very risky and extremely expensive ‘star wars’ project....we cannot afford black hole expeditions...aren’t we satisfied that we have ruined Malta’s environment and built up everywhere, now we even want to ruin the beautiful blue sea…the only unobstructed view existing on the island’s horizon!!!
Get the underwater cable/s laid up (if two are not enough install more) and hook up to the European grid...
…and start a serious campaign beefed up by attractive subsidies and a good return for energy retrieved to the national grid from such systems, which will make for the installation of more PV panels on residential and other buildings
…more start participating in European led initiatives which are seeing the setting up of solar farms in Northern Africa regions….
….Gear up our university to produce students who will start looking at exploring our ‘free’ resource – solar energy – which surely is guaranteed to get ‘better’:-P as climate change takes it’s pace…

Paul Barrett
I still believe that you can get a reasonable wind farm, combined with solar panels set up along the Coast Road. This would be at a fraction of the cost of trying to set up a wind farm in deep water.

Edward Mallia
The statement that Sikka l-Bajda (SB) 'is the only area of the seabed around the islands that is shallow enough to cater for today's technology' is demonstrably false. A paper from Minister Pullicino's 'SB' team, read at a Brindisi wind energy conference and subsequently published in a US journal has a Gozo offshore wind energy potential comparable to that of SB. Improved calculations gave the following: With the SB depth limit (30m), the Gozo north offshore farm can accomodate 21x 2MW turbines. The wind speeds used (for year 2007) were taken at Gordan lighthouse, to the west of the farm. To correct for that the output from the farm was taken to come ONLY from the wind directions to which it is directly exposed, from 270degs (west) to 120degs. (SE). RESULT IS A TOTAL OUTPUT AMOUNTING TO 4.3% of 2007 Power Station GENERATION.

Despite having an indication of this potential, Minister Pullicino chose to make apocalyptic statements on SB, which failed to impress the EU. More, he refused to put up a measuring mast on Gozo north shore, as an insurance policy against any SB setback requiring the start of another long measuring period on Gozo.

D. Farrugia
As always, no mention of the project's inevitable destruction of an EU priority habitat: posedonia meadows. Wind farms are a non-starter here in Malta. The archipelago is way too small to house such technology. Wherever they are planned they are bound to destroy habitats. Green as they will ever be, we must nonetheless realise that their impact is simply unacceptable. EU should have realised this from the beginning. There are other alternatives. Why go head over heals for new technology when we lack basics: energy efficiency through insulation? Scrap the whole project.
ftheuma(58 minutes ago)
Rubbish. I have seen full sized wind turbines on islands as small as Gozo. These islands still have a high level of pristine natural beauty. The turbine's footprint is negligibly small and will cause much less destruction than the rampant building that we see taking place all over Malta. All the objections to wind turbine are just empty excuses stemming from ignorance or laziness.

@ftheuma. It is not just a matter of footprint. Perhaps a read through the following articles may provide some food for thought.



Anthony A. Mifsud
Wow, that is some NEWS unblievale, that is why we need this extention to the exissiting power house.
By any chance have the surveyers found and fish in the caves?

Edward Mallia
1.The features found by Aaron Micallef are not caves but depressions in the sea-bed probably originating from collapse of caves.
2. Sikka l-Bajda (SB) is not 'the only area of the seabed around the islands that is shallow enough to cater for today's technology'. With the same depth limit (30m) as for SB there is a long strip off the north Gozo coast from Ix-Xwejni to San Blas which has a good potential.
The other errors originate from the Resources Ministry. It cannot be the case that the farm potential is calculated 'irrespective' of the depth of the reef. If the latter were 50m for instance, the reef would not have much potential with present market technology. As for Minister Pullicino's 'Malta would be stuck' statement, that is demonstrably wrong, as is his hope that the EU will reconsider its expectations. On the latter, the EU said 'nothing doing' months ago. The Times carried a report by Ivan Camilleri to that effect. On the former- the uniqueness of SB- there is published and unpublished evidence against it.

Are floating wind turbines being considered at all by the government? They exist, initial installation cost is competitive with that of moored ones, and they are more efficient and can be positioned wherever. And what about generating energy from waves? Again the technology is out there and we are surrounded by a sea that kicks up significant wave activity in a consistent manner. Ah I get it, what we need is unproven technology dependent on heavy fuel oil that will produce tons of toxic waste on a weekly basis. The lack of commitment that the government has to get energy from renewable sources is astounding and defies explanation.

Raymond Sammut
"energy from waves" may not be viable for Malta. This technology requires a combination of sea currents and geological features. Such a combination may be hard to find around Malta in a cost-effective manner. "floating wind turbines" are most likely to be suitable for Malta. What Dr Micallef is pointing at here is not necessarily detrimental. It would probably only make a future project a little trickier. Most likely the key-factor would be the data on average annual wind capture, which seems to be still in progress.


Note: You must be logged in to add comments

This is a Wiki Spot wiki. Wiki Spot is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps communities collaborate via wikis.