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AfricaMoney | August 24, 2017

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Mauritius environment ministry gives reprieve to coal power plant at Beau-Champ

Mauritius environment ministry gives reprieve to coal power plant at Beau-Champ

When the factory was operational, the power plant reserved 36 GWh for its functioning and distributed a minimum of 110 GWh to the national network but with the closure of the sugar factory at Beau-Champ, it will run only on coal during the next months and it will supply 160 GWh of energy annually to the CEB. (Image: Examiner)

The Ministry of Environment recently gave the green signal to Consolidated Energy Co. Ltd (CEL) of Alteo to continue to operate its thermal power plant at Beau-Champ only in coal, instead of the earlier arrangement under which electricity was generated from both bagasse and coal.

The document by the Mauritian environment Ministry noted that ‘there shall be no technical changes or modifications for running CEL on coal only, until the expiry of its Power Purchase Agreement with CEB in July 2015.’

Thus, the authorization will be in force until the expiration of the contract of this company with the Central Electricity Board (CEB), next year.

This thermal power plant of 25 MW was conceived to generate electrical energy from both bagasse and coal.

As the ministry document further noted ‘CEL was designed to supply both steam and electricity to the milling operation (36GWh) and to supply electricity to the national grid (minimum of 110 GWh).’

Thus, when the factory was operational, the power plant reserved 36 GWh for its functioning and distributed a minimum of 110 GWh to the national network.

However, with the closure of the sugar factory at Beau-Champ, it will run only on coal during the next months and it will supply 160 GWh of energy annually to the CEB.

By only burning some coal, CEL calculates the additional production of carbon dioxide per year to 32,666 tons.

In its report on the company’s impact on the environment, CEL explains that the 11,000 hectares of vegetation grown on its property will absorb the gas.

This vegetation, as it indicated, can pump up to 550,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Concerning ashes produced after the electricity production, the company indicates that they will be used for agriculture, in particular.

To provide the background, CEL operates a bagasse-and-coal fired power plant within the premises of the Deep River Beau Champ (DRBC) Sugar Estate at Beau Champ since August 1997. CEL has been operating for sixteen years on coal during the inter-crop season.

However, with the recent consolidation of operations of DRBC and Flacq United Estates Limited (FUEL), to ensure competitiveness of ongoing activities, Beau Champ Milling operations have closed at the end of crop season 2013 and centralization of milling operations shall be done at Union Flacq as from crop season 2014.

Alteo asserts that the power plant of Union Flacq, Alteo Energy Ltd, will burn more bagasse than coal.

It may be noted that following the closure of Deep River Beau-Champ (DRBC) milling factory scheduled after the 2013 crop and the ensuing expansion of Alteo Milling at Union Flacq, Alteo Energy was supposed to benefit from the significant additional availability of bagasse and will thus be in a position to produce a much proportion of its production from the renewable source of energy.

This development will not only ensure a healthy income stream to the operations in the short to medium term but will place Alteo Energy in an ideal position to set up a new higher efficiency power plant, even as it intends to create a photovoltaic farm as well in the near future.

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