Energy and water supply, and their sustainability around the globe, is an issue of great relevance, no less in Malta, a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean, with no naturally occurring potable water or natural resources to rely on.
That is why since forever, Malta has always kept the value of sustainability central to its energy and water policies. “In whatever we do, we have to keep the long term, bigger picture in mind” says Ing. Charles Buttigieg, Chief Policy Officer for Stakeholder Support at the Energy and Water Agency.
“Technologies are constantly evolving and offering us the opportunities to save on capital outlays as well as consumption, ultimately improving the quality service to our citizens as well as benefitting the country’s coffers” Ing. Buttigieg explains.
“That is why we decided to go for a project which would reduce energy consumption, improve street lighting quality and generally upgrade our touristic product in two key tourism locations in the island” Ing. Buttigieg says. “On the Xemxija bay and hill area, as well as on the street by Mellieħa Bay, we changed some 95 street lamps which now work on LED technology. A technology that improves energy efficiency by over 50 per cent”.
Moreover, the streets see a further improvement on efficiency during the lazy night hours, when lighting is perhaps needed less.
“Using technology available, we are saving more on consumption, as the light is dimmed during the peak night-time hours, when most of us are asleep and lights do not require to be functioning at 100% capacity. This means that during a number of hours everyday we are saving over 70 per cent on the usual costs” Ing. Buttigieg expounds.
This was a greatly succesful project and spread across several other arterial and distributory roads across Malta , upgrading and installing a total of 3,183 last generation LED lamps that provide brighter better lighting, at a fraction of the cost of old.
Charles’ passion for energy has long roots. From a young age, he was obsessed by how machines in an increasingly technologically-driven world operate. This passion was quickly transformed into a long career in engineering, being involved in a number of national agencies, and high stakes projects, even a leading role in national policy design.
“Though an engineer, I did my Masters in Diplomacy” Charles says smilingly. “I was always fascinated by the bigger picture and by how we can affect long-term change that can really have an effect on the lives of people” he says.
“Today at the Energy and Water Agency we are busy doing this, in a tangable and direct way. We make it a point to build solid bridges with all stakeholders, including government departments, constituted bodies, NGOs and anyone who needs our guidance. Furthermore we take a special interest to help households, especially vulnerable households, improve their energy consumption through better efficiency and sustainability by visiting their homes and providing them with free energy and water conservation tips ”.
Malta’s Energy and Water Agency (EWA) which was set up in 2014, is tasked with ensuring security, sustainability and affordability of energy and water in Malta.