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AfricaMoney | August 19, 2017

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National Energy Commission says CEB’s plan goes against sustainable Mauritius

National Energy Commission says CEB’s plan goes against sustainable Mauritius

The report urges a new power forecast for the period of 2014 –2025, the new IEP for Mauritius, which must emerge to define a sustainable energy mix for 2014 -2025. (Image: Leal Group)

Mauritius must get its act together, and soon, if Maurice Ile Durable (MID) is ever to translate from a mere concept to concrete reality.

The confidential report of the National Energy Commission (NEC) to the cabinet last month has finally been made public, and, as mentioned in an earlier report on AfricaMoney, it declares that the Integrated Electricity Plan (IEP) (2013-2022) does not do justice to the concept of a sustainable Mauritius.

Even as the cabinet has approved the implementation of the coal-based CT Power project, expected to be operational by 2016, it is more than ever critical for Mauritius to wake up to green energy and start phasing out its usage of coal and other non-renewable sources of energy. And, the NEC report could prove an important step in the right direction.

Making no bones about it, the NEC report concluded that the IEP ‘could not fully adhere to the MID Policy, Strategy and Action Plan which was only approved in June 2013, in particular the 35% renewable energy (RE) target in 2025.’

Even more damagingly, the NEC examined the short to medium term supply/demand situation from 2014-16, and, on a number of issues, the report commented that the NEC ‘could not agree with the assumptions used in the IEP document.’

This is largely because the NEC has used a more environment friendly approach of looking at demand reduction, which has the capability to ease off the pressure on supply sources, instead of only concentrating on supply side issues, which may result in lesser sustainable alternatives like the CT Power plant.

The NEC has analysed two schemes, with the first scheme being an energy landscape dominated by coal – the case for CT Power – and the second focusing on renewables.

Taking into consideration Maurice Ile Durable (MID), it was concluded that the second scheme is clearly better from both an environmental and social perspective because there will be greater job creation in the renewable energy scenario, while the energy sector itself will have the mandate of the people as it focuses on clean energy.

And, for those supporters of traditional, coal based energy who claim that renewable energy is too expensive, the NEC counters their claims by emphasizing that the second scheme is supported by new pricing structures for bio-energy as it would displace fossil fuels.

Moreover, this scheme would also benefit small and medium planters by an increase in the price of bagasse through consultations between the concerned parties.

To further highlight the contribution of scheme two, the NEC report compares scheme one and scheme two on grounds of environmental impact, costs and compliance with internal emission targets as well as external multi-environmental agreement.

It concludes that scheme one is detrimental to the environment as it uses six times more coal, emits four times more carbon dioxide and eight times more sulfur dioxide than scheme two. Also, scheme one is 40% more expensive than scheme two.

Moreover, scheme one makes it difficult to achieve the renewables target, and in fact brings down the current renewables level of 20% to 12.5%, while scheme two allows the renewables target, at 35% of the total energy mix by 2025, to be met.

Finally, scheme two enables Mauritius to comply with commitments under multi-environmental agreements, which must be met to uphold the international image of the island nation as a responsible and accountable economy.

The report also highlights that both the ‘Green Economy’ and the ‘Ocean Economy’ complement each other on the path to a prosperous sustainable future for the country as land-based power requirements go hand in hand with clean oceanic developments.

Most importantly for the future of MID, the report calls for a new power forecast for the period of 2014 –2025, the new IEP for Mauritius which must emerge to define a sustainable energy mix for 2014 -2025.

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