Serious setback for the Central Electricity Board (CEB) and supporters of coal. The National Energy Commission (NEC), established in January 2013 following a decision of the Cabinet to review the energy requirements of the country, took the CEB against foot-and questioned the need for coal-fired CT Power in Pointe-aux-Caves. It submitted its report in October. But it has not yet been made public.
At first, the NEC discussed the Integrated Electricity Plan (IEP) 2013-2022 prepared by the CEB. "The NEC considers that, taking into account the significant work undertaken by the CEB, this document does not fully adhere to the policy of Maurice Ile Durable (MID), a strategic and action plan approved in June 2013, particular depend on the objective of 35% renewable energy by 2025, "write the editors. The committee is chaired by Dev Manraj, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister at the time of drafting the document and current Financial Secretary.
NEC complains of "lack of cooperation" of CEB and CT Power. "Despite several reminders, the CEB and CT Power did not provide the information and clarifications requested by the NEC. NEC worked from information contained in the IEP, the presentation of the CEB with NEC and from reliable sources ", can be read on page 21 of the report.
NEC also believes that the CEB has produced an IEP "that does not take into account the following key parameters: the goal of producing 35% of electricity from renewable energy, energy efficiency and potential management energy demand and the consultative process with all stakeholders. "
He added: "The regulatory, institutional and policy issues must be fully addressed. "
The report notes that "a number of issues, the NEC could not agree with the forecasts used in the document IEP. In addition, NEC has "focus on reducing energy demand because it has the ability to relieve the pressure on sources that provide electricity."
So, by this analysis, the Commission has reached a completely different result from that contained in the IEP of the CEB.
The Joint Committee government, private sector, academics and representatives of civil society has two comparative studies. The first is based on the development of electricity from coal Maurice essentially. The second takes into account the increasing use of renewable energy, while integrating energy efficiency and demand management.
NEC is concluded that the first option is more likely to cost more because of the ever increasing prices of commodities and exchange rate rupee / U.S. dollar. "The highest percentage of local resources significantly improves energy security in case there is a big supply problem. "
NEC also indicates that the production of coal dust and other wastes from coal plants is related to the quantum of coal used. The second option, that is to say that where coal is used less "is the best because it means fewer landfills for coal dust and other wastes. So, there will be less of property devaluation and less inconvenience for the communities living in the vicinity. "
In terms of employment opportunities, the first option, the more dependent on coal, "applies only to coal, while the second option, the cane / biomass and solar and wind business activities would provide more opportunities employment, especially at a local level and for Small and Medium Enterprises. " In addition, energy management and demand management "also contribute to job creation and the development of expertise." So, issue of job creation, the second option prevails.
For NEC, it is clear that the objectives Mauritius has set the MID project "are best served by the second option," the choice of renewable energy. In addition, the analysis of the coal option has revealed that she uses "six times more coal and emit four times more CO2." Furthermore, in terms of this option lifetime is "40% more expensive." While renewable energy option for electricity production would enable the country to achieve this target of 35% by 2025, with the coal "will reduce the current level of 20% to 12.5% only."
The clean energy option therefore has "many advantages that will lay the foundation for a green economy that has as main advantages of sustainability, inclusiveness and democracy. The green economy will also provide greater position Mauritius as a potential leader in this emerging sector. This will also join the Blue Economy project in which the government is embarking. "
In fact, NEC sees only benefits in the renewable energy option. "The NEC recommends the second path, which includes a combination of bagasse and biomass as a substitute for coal, with a possibility of development of natural gas and biodiesel, while incorporating solar, wind and other renewable energies, together with Electricity storage.
Energy efficiency and demand management are two vital components for this track. This will lead to the emergence of a new economic sector, the clean energy. "In reaching this conclusion, the NEC has conducted extensive studies. She explained the whole process in its report of 234 pages.
The government does not, however, intend to go in the direction advocated by the NEC. In its reply to the Private Notice Question (PNQ) to Parliament last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Utilities Rashid Beebeejaun should provide assurance that Power CT is well operational in 2016.
The social worker Jeff Lingaya deplores the fact that "there is no political will for the implementation of this report." He wondered "what the government is doing in relation to this matter," and also questioned "the position taken by the opposition."
The Minister of the Environment Virahsawmy Deva confirms that the proposed coal plant "will be made in 2016." For him, the proponent complies with the regulations that were imposed upon him the authorities. The Minister certifies that all arrangements are made for CT Power uses "clean coal" so that there is "no effect on the health of residents of Pointe-aux-Caves and surrounding area."
Joe Lesjongard, MMM MP and chairman of the Energy Committee of the party, "the report should be published." He insists on this point. For him, in the light of what Rashid Beebeejaun, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Utilities, told Parliament on Friday that CT Power will be in operation in 2016, "it is clear that the energy sector is wrong" . This would prove, he says, that "the government has no heart to protect the environment."
The Parliamentary Private Secretary and Chairman of PTr Patrick Assirvaden will not comment on the report of the NEC for the moment. He would return on another occasion.
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