Blackouts bye-bye: Mauritius’ CT Power project to start in 2016
The atmosphere of the Mauritian Parliament lightened up as renewable energy minister Rashid Beebeejaun affirmed that the CT Power project is planned to be set up in 2016. (Image: Government of Mauritius)
With the widespread blackout last Thursday night, the island economy is rightly concerned about both power projects as a long term solution to blackout woes as also the immediate need of uninterrupted electricity supply in the coming summer months.
Accordingly, the Mauritius Parliament’s discussion on Friday was centered on the CT Power project, and the atmosphere lightened up as renewable energy minister Rashid Beebeejaun affirmed that the CT Power project is planned to be set up in 2016.
Also, Consolidated Energy Ltd (CEL) has submitted a request to operate a coal-based power plant from next year onwards with the centralization of the sugar refinery of Deep-River / Beau-Champ.
Beebejaun announced that the 100-MW CT Power project at Pointes aux Caves, Albion will be in operation in 2016, following the private notice questions (PQN) of opposition leader Paul Berenger.
However, the purchase price of electricity with CT Power has not been decided and the Central Electricity Board (CEB) is currently working on the Power Purchase Agreement, slated to be finalized by the end of this year.
Beebeejaun also confirmed that measures were in place to ensure that, despite increase in demand for electricity in summer, there will be no disruption in supply in the coming months.
The peak demand for 2013 is 447 MW and for 2014, it is expected to come to an even higher 461 MW. The registered demand till now is 439 MW and the capacity of electricity production from the CEB for both 2013 and 2014 is 565 MW.
Further, of the 447 MW and 461 MW peak demand estimates for 2013 and 2014 respectively, the safety margin is 118 MW and 104 MW each. It is also essential to take into account a deduction of 60 MW for maintenance and 37 MW in case of a breakdown.
The forecast of electricity demand will be based on consumer trends or economic growth estimates by the specialized department of the CEB. Proven models of the International Atomic Energy Agency will be applied for the analysis.
At this stage, the renewable energy minister admitted to difficulties in bringing the electrical energy generated by small producers onto the national network, which could potentially contribute a significant 64 MW.
Beebeejaun added that South African consultants were undertaking a feasibility study on the need for generation and transport of Liquefied Natural Gas, which was expected to conclude in April 2014.
These developments come at a welcome time for the island economy that sorely needs to diversify energy sources to avoid excessive dependence on coal. According to the present outlook, the country will be dependent on coal to produce electricity for the next 50 years, Berenger claimed.