The promoters of a proposed coalfired power plant in Albion will have to spend Rs 400 million on building a jetty at the site in order to quell traffic fears. This is the second time the backers of CT Power (Mauritius) Ltd have considered a jetty; it was rejected originally because of cost implications.
But after their planned plant was thrown out, partly because of expected traffic problems, the jetty is back on the agenda. It also follows a recent statement by Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam that the project would be “reconsidered”. The CT Power project, backed by Malaysian entrepreneurs, was for a coalfired power plant of 2 X 55 megawatts at Pointe-aux-Caves.
According to the initial planning, some 1,260 tons of coal per day would have to be transferred from the site during the week. This would mean trucks of 22 tons would have had to do 115 trips to and from the site.
Coal would have been transported between 9.30am and 4.45pm, which is a trip every three minutes, which would have had significant implications on traffic flow.
This was one of the reasons why the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Certificate was denied. Now, according to a reliable source at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the jetty option has again been raised.
The same source confides that a tentative costing worked out by the promoters revealed that the jetty, which would be about 800 metres, would tot up a bill for Rs400 million.
The site at Pointe aux Caves, between Albion and Pointe aux Sable, was chosen by the consultant K&M Engineering of the USA in 2002 for thepower plant as well as a jetty to unload coal.
This was studied by the EIA Committee which concluded that when the document of CT Power Ltd was submitted, there was not much residential development at Pointe aux Caves.
The committee also took note that the representative of the Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit stated in a supplementary report that the road infrastructure in this area could support such traffic if consideration was given to an alternative route at Pointe aux Sables.
The project, though, was not approved due to its “huge financial implications”. The setting up of a jetty was rejected, a first time, for the same reason.
The CT Power (Mauritius) Ltd project was ruled out in January this year due to an unfavourable environment impact assessment, citing its proximity to residential areas, road traffic issues, socio- economic impact, noise pollution, impact on fauna and flora, and pollution.
In parliament last month, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public Utilities Dr Rashid Beebeejaun stated that he had “initiated appropriate steps and measures” to verify that neither the soft copies nor the hard copies of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) on the project had been altered.
The move followed “serious allegations by the promoter that the report submitted by him to the EIA Committee may have been tampered with,” Dr Beebeejaun told the House.
In the same reply, Dr Beebeejaun said that in April 2006, the promoters of CT Power (Mauritius) Ltd were granted approval for the commissioning of 3 x 50MW coal-based power station at Pointeaux- Caves, Albion, for a targeted operation of that facility in 2009. Following discussions with the CEB, however, the plant was downsized to 2 X 55MW.
It would be a pulverised coal technology plant operating at 32% efficiency compared to the 26% of current coal/bagasse independent power producers. The CEB would have had an equity shareholding of 26% and the plant would have been transferred to the CEB after 20 years at a nominal $1 to be owned and operated solely by CEB.
The promoter, said Dr Beebeejaun, applied for an EIA licence on April 6, 2007. In view of the complexity of the project, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme, appointed consultants Mott MacDonald and Global Coastal Strategies to undertake an independent evaluation and assessment.
“The consultant submitted a report in December 2008 recommending additional studies with respect to stack height, traffic impact assessment, socio-economic assessment, and ash drainage system and outfall location for cooling water.”
The additional reports were submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development on June 16, 2010, and August 13, 2010 respectively. Following the decision on January 13 this year of the EIA Committee not to grant an EIA licence to the project, the promoter filed an appeal at the Environment Appeal Tribunal on February 15.
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