17 August 2012 – A long running legal dispute in Mauritius between the ministry of environment and CT Power, which is looking to establish a 110 MW (two by 55 MW) coal fired power station at Pointe-aux-Caves, has raised the argument that delays in the supply of coal fired power are keeping the country’s price of electricity high. CT Power was denied EIA approval for the project which has led to a drawn out legal process, reports AllAfrica.com.

At the moment the country’s Central Electricity Board (CEB) is heavy dependent on heavy fuel oil (HFO) for its base and mid-merit power generation. It is believed that the marginal cost of electricity in Mauritius from coal would be about US7.5c/kWh compared to US16c/kWh for electricity generated using heavy fuel oil. At the moment the country’s five independent power producers (IPPs) provide electricity at an average price of just under US12c/kWh.

Uncertainly has surrounded the CT power project for five years, and has seen the CEB invest in six 15 MW HFO run engines at Fort Victoria station to meet its demand growth.

Meanwhile, the Mauritian government, through the ministry of finance, has issued a request for the recruitment of a transactional advisor for a two by 50 MW coal power plant. The selected adviser will advise government on the preparation of the tender documents for the launching of a request for proposals by CEB for the construction, commissioning and operation of such a power plant.

However, the lead time for the conclusion of a power purchase agreement with the successful bidder could be at least nine months. This time constraint could press CEB to invest in a new two by 15 MW fuel oil power plants at St Louis to meet its capacity demand for the 2015 horizon.