Following an extensive public consultation process, the Environment Protection Directorate within MEPA has reviewed the submissions made by Enemalta, together with the representations made by the local councils of the area and the public, and issued draft permit conditions for the extension of the Delimara power station. The IPPC permit conditions will be discussed at a public hearing of the MEPA Board on the 5th December 2011.
IPPC permit conditions require the prevention or reduction of emissions where possible. While diesel gives better environmental results overall, the emission limit values proposed in the draft conditions are expected to be respected by both diesel and heavy fuel oil with the proposed abatement equipment at the Extension. These emission limits are in line with EU legislation.
In order to adopt a precautionary approach, the draft conditions require constant ambient air monitoring if heavy fuel oil is to be used. The performance of the plant will be reviewed by no later than September 2012 to determine whether the predictions made are correct and heavy fuel oil can continue to be used or not.
The draft permit conditions require that further data will be collected in 2012 through ambient air monitoring, and a monitoring committee will be set up for this purpose. It is proposed that the committee will include a representative of the local community, and appoint an independent expert as consultant.
A Cost Impact Analysis conducted by KPMG indicates that a change from heavy fuel oil to diesel would induce an increase in costs of approximately €20 million for the eight-month period between May (when the extension would begin operating) and December 2012.
The Analysis estimates that if the Extension is operated on diesel for this period, the target variable revenue to be recovered through consumption charges underlying the current tariff for this period would need to be increased by 10%.
Regarding the transport of waste generated by the Extension, Enemalta has proposed a land route. However Enemalta is being obliged to carry out a study on the infrastructural requirements, feasibility and environmental risks of the marine transport of this waste. Depending on the outcome of the study, to be submitted by March 2012, marine transport of waste may be required.
Enemalta will also be required to ensure that no development or operation of the plant would impede further development for the use of natural gas, both supplied through a pipeline or in liquid form, as a major fuel for electricity generation. By December 2012, Enemalta is being required to submit a feasibility study regarding the conversion of the Delimara Power Station to various gas fuel options.
The draft permit conditions and related documents are available for viewing on http://www.mepa.org.mt/ippc-applications-consultation