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Mauritius

Official Name:
Republic of Mauritius

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Government/Ministry
Name:
Mr. Jogeeswar Seewoobaduth
Position:
Acting Director of Environment
Phone:
+230 210 5620, +230 203 62 00
Emails:
jseewoobaduth@govmu.org

Energy profile

Mauritius (2012)

Type: 
Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

The main islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, with a population of 37,774 in 2009, are fully connected to the Central Electricity Board electricity grid.

Renewable energy potential

The Government of Mauritius has been advocating a shift from conventional fossil fuels to renewable sources for a long time. The first ever power plant built in Mauritius was a small hydro power station at Réduit in 1906. Since then, despite the construction of 7 additional hydropower stations to date, ranging in installed capacities from 900 kW to 29 MW, the share of fossil fuels has been gradually increasing and has now become the major component in the energy mix for electricity generation. Production of electricity on a large scale from biomass (bagasse) started in the late 1950’s when sugar factories came to the conclusion that rather than using bagasse for just producing process steam required for sugar crystallisation, they could first use high pressure steam to generate electricity and the resulting low pressure steam as process heat.With the continued increase in the prices of fossil fuels over the years, the Government decided to turn its attention to renewable energy sources (RES) (bagasse, hydro, solar and wind) with the adoption of the Bagasse Energy Development Plan in the 1990s. The implementation of this plan allowed for a significant increase in the share of bagasse in the generation of electricity. Consistent with this approach of promoting RES, the Government first installed wind turbines for electricity generation in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, those turbines rapidly fell prey to cyclones (hurricanes) and were destroyed. The Government has also renewed its interest in furthering the development of renewable energy and with 22% of its electricity already generated from RES (bagasse and hydro), Mauritius is an international leader in this field. However, most hydro resources have been tapped, while the potential increase in the use of bagasse and its generation efficiency are being pursued.Biomass/biodieselThere is an annual technical potential of producing 1000 GWh of electricity from bagass, cane residues and other biomass by 2013 using current technology. With an ultimate technical annual potential of more than 3000 GWh in 20 years with new varieties of cane and Bagasse Integrated Gasification Combine Cycle turbines. Related ethanol production levels have to be determined according to the different scenarios.HydropowerA technical potential of about 10MW of additional hydropower, particularly through micro-turbines and pico-turbines, is estimated.WindThere is an inland wind power technical potential of between 60 and 140 MW. As well as a total technical potential, including offshore, of 250 MW by 2025, producing 550 GWh annually.SolarAccording to available data from the Mauritius Meteorological Services (MMS), Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agalega enjoy a favourable solar climate with some 2,000 – 2,250 hours of sunshine annually and an average solar radiation of 5.4 kWh/m2/day. This very good solar potential was instrumental in establishing the rationale for the Government to initiate the solar water heater programme in 2008 under the Maurice Ile Durable (MID – The Mauritius Sustainable Island Fund, 2007). Encouraged by the positive response to date with solar water heaters, the next logical step has been for the Government to harness the country’s solar potential for electricity generation from photovoltaics (PV). However, to date, the country has had only limited experience with grid-connected PV electricity generation.

Energy framework

The Government adopted an “Outline of the Energy Policy 2007-2025” in April 2007 and followed it up in December 2008 with the adoption of a “Long Term Energy Strategy 2009-2025”. The strategy framework covers all sectors, including electricity generation, transportation, petroleum products, renewable energy and energy efficiency. In the renewable energy sector, the thrust is on the promotion of technologies, with a focus on distributed and decentralised systems, not only to increase access to modern energy services, but also to enhance energy security. In this context, the challenge under the “Long Term Energy Strategy 2009-2025” is now to increase the renewable energy share to 35% by 2025, with the application of technologies to harness the various renewable energy resources that the country is endowed with. To achieve this objective, the Government has determined grid-connected photovoltaics (PV) for electricity generation as one of the viable components that would enter into a renewable energy mix. Accordingly, the “Long Term Energy Strategy 2009-2025” establishes targets for PV electricity generation at 1% by 2015, and 2% by 2025.Prior to that, legislation to regulate the electricity sector was introduced in 2005 with the adoption of the Utility Regulatory Authority Act; the Regulatory Authority, as approved under the Act, is expected to be established soon. The Government hired a consultancy firm to formulate a Renewable Energy Master Plan in support of the Long Term Energy Strategy. Preliminary indications (in July 2010) from the consultants formulating the master plan were that solar PV had a role to play in the renewable energy mix of the country for on-grid electricity generation and that the forecasted contribution of 2% by 2025, as outlined in the Long Term Energy Strategy, can be met in the presence of a conducive environment for private sector investment.In addition, the Prime Minister of Mauritius enunciated, in 2007, the Maurice Ile Durable (MID – Mauritius Sustainable Island) vision with one of its objectives to make Mauritius less dependent on fossil fuels through increased utilization of renewable energy and the promotion of energy efficency. To date, in the energy sector, the associated MID fund (derived partially from a token levy on all imported sources of energy) has initiated and implemented a vast programme of targeted subsidies for energy efficient lighting, both in the private and public sectors, and household solar water heaters. [1] The introduction of subsidies on solar-water heaters and on Compact Fluorescent Lamps were landmark measures for the new MID venture. A Ministry of Renewable Energy and Public Utilities was instituted.

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