The government in Mauritius is set to encourage the use of renewables and clean energy to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.
The Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Georges Pierre Lesjongard at the launching of a workshop on the occasion of World Energy day 2021 held at Caudan Arts Centre, in Port-Louis, recalled that budget 2021/2022 also laid emphasis on the penetration of renewable energy adding that green energy would be a new pillar of the economy.
Two new schemes, namely the Central Electricity Board (CEB) Renewable Energy Scheme for Charging of Electric Vehicles, and the CEB Renewable Energy Scheme for Public Enterprises, were launched. An exhibition, depicting the evolution of energy in Mauritius, is also being held at the Caudan Arts Centre.
Lesjongard pointed out that 60% of our country’s energy needs will be produced from green sources by 2030 and that the use of coal will also be totally phased out by 2030.
Speaking about electricity access in Mauritius, he indicated that 99.6% of the population already has access to electricity and that the country is in the process of diversifying its sources of energy.
In 2020, 76.1% of electricity was generated from non-renewable sources, while 23.9% was generated from renewable sources. It is foreseen that in the next 30 years, renewable power generation technologies will be capable to deliver reliable and affordable energy to meet the needs of users around the globe, he stated.
The minister underlined that several initiatives are being taken to bring about this transition to clean energy. Hence, the CEB had undertaken an exercise to gauge the market in terms of investment in renewable technologies.
As regards private sector investment in the field of renewable energy, the CEB has launched two requests for proposal, namely for the setting up of a Wind Farm project of capacity 10MW to 30MW, and the setting up of three solar farms of 10MW each, he added.
Other projects which are being implemented for the generation of solar energy include a floating photovoltaic (PV) at Tamarind Falls and an 8MW solar farm at Henrietta. Furthermore, a dedicated renewable energy department has been created at the CEB and staffed with the relevant skills and competencies to allow for the achievement of the renewable energy objectives and targets.
Mauritius renewable energy schemes include electric vehicle market
As regards the CEB Renewable Scheme for charging electric vehicles, Lesjongard underlined that the government had approved the implementation of a 10-year Roadmap for the integration of electric vehicles in Mauritius.
He indicated that it is expected that the number of electric cars would shoot up to 8,400 by 2025 and 26,000 by 2030 on a medium growth scenario.
Lauding the benefits of electric vehicles, he recalled that the government has provided several incentives to promote the uptake of electric vehicles. Besides existing tax relief, practically no customs duty, the Development Bank of Mauritius will provide a loan, up to an amount of $2,347 at a low rate of 2% for solar kits for domestic purposes, he said.
He highlighted that the CEB has also worked out a tariff whereby customers would benefit from charging their electric vehicles at specific times of the day and night during off-peak times.
The time-of-use tariff will enable the individual to charge their electric car at night at a rate that will be 60% lower than the peak (evening) rate. Thus, by charging the car between 9pm and 4am, the consumer is charged only $0.094 per kWh as opposed to $0.23 per kWh if they charge the car between 6pm and 9pm, he observed.
The second scheme launched, namely, the CEB Renewable Scheme for public enterprises has been devised following the measure announced in the budget 2021/22 regarding greenfield projects from public sector entities.
This Scheme will allow Government entities to install solar PV installations and sell the electricity produced hence enabling them to contribute to the Renewable Energy movement in Mauritius and to the target of 60% of clean energy by 2030, he said.
Lesjongard rejoiced that the two schemes will contribute towards the country’s strategy to decarbonise its energy sector and build the new arm of the green energy industry.