Between Coal and Renewable Energy: The National Energy Commission Wedges Featured Government

7 years, 4 months ago - December 09, 2013
In line with government policy for sustainable island (MID), the National Energy Commission (NEC) recommends renewable energy at the expense of coal. Paradoxically, the agreement between the Central Electricity Board (CEB) and CT Power for the installation of a coal plant in Albion will be signed soon.

The National Energy Commission (NEC) leaves no choice to the government. It is against new coal plant project and recommends the optimal exploitation of renewable energy sources. Whether solar energy, solar thermal, wind, biomass, biodiesel, biogas or natural gas, among others. NEC does not mince words: the option of renewable energy (green economy) is more beneficial for the country. This, both financially, environmentally, energy security, population health or job creation, among others. 

Two ways 

NEC analyzed two paths for the future. In the first, the "coal-dominated," there will be: 
coal plants with a capacity of 190 MW and

  • stations that use heavy oil with a high sulfur content with a capacity of 60 MW.
  • With such a capability, the need for use of solar energy and wind energy will not be felt.
  • In the second way that lays the foundation for a green economy through the optimum use of clean energy, there will be:
  • stations that use heavy oil with a high sulfur content with a capacity of 60 MW,
  • thermal power plants based on bagasse and biomass with a capacity of 25 MW,
  • thermal coal with a capacity of 25 MW,
  • producing 60 MW of electricity from solar and wind energy,
  • production of 30 MW from biomass and energy generated by waste
  • the production of electricity from natural gas.

NEC believes that encouraging the use of renewable energies in electricity demand will decrease by 50 MW. 

Financial Comparison 

About financial benefits, NEC calculations conclude that the option of coal cost 40% more expensive than the option of renewable energy. For the simple reason you do not buy solar and wind energy and the price of bagasse, biomass and natural gas are relatively low. The cost of imports of heavy oil and coal has increased from Rs 6.3 billion in 2002 to Rs 33.4 billion in 2012. In 2012, the use of bagasse has enabled the country to save Rs 954 million in import of coal. 

NEC notes that the volume of bagasse is down, because during the last ten years the amount of land under cultivation of sugar cane is reduced by 18,128 hectares. Therefore, in 2012, only 17.2% of electricity was produced from bagasse against 23.2% in 2002. 

In 2014, the CEB will purchase electricity produced from solar energy to Rs 6 kWh. The price was down by over 40% by 2020. According to the predictions of IRENA, the price will vary between Rs 1.86 and Rs 3.10 kWh. Note that the cost of production by the CEB is Rs 6 against Rs 3.35 PPI. 

Impact on health 

The coal option is qualified by the NEC "very bad" for the environment and public health. It will use six times more coal and emit 4 times more carbon dioxide and 8 times more sulfur dioxide. NEC said that sulfur dioxide is associated with diseases such as asthma and cancer. "The location is SO2 is due for concern. Review: The most critical health hazards, asthma & bronchial constriction and cancer, are Associated with the Amount of SO2 Emitted. 

Equally, SO2 emission on account of the formation of acid rain Negatively impact on human and animal life, "reads the report. This negative effect can be contained with the use of heavy low-sulfur oil. Moreover, this is what the NEC recommended option for renewable energy: "However, the situation improves substantially if low-sulphur HFO is used. Hence, NEC has selected for assessing Pathway Two, the low-sulphur HFO (LSHFO) option, which is more beneficial. LSHFO is more expensive than its high-sulphur HFO (HSHFO) counterpart. " 

The NEC further down the nail arguing that the coal option goes against the Mauritius Sustainable Island, dear Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam project. The question is whether the government will take the path of reason or of unreason. Strong lobbies are at work. 

A bunch of proposals 

NEC provides the foundation for a green economy through clean energy sector. A series of proposals were made: 
The substitution of coal and biomass bagasse.

  • The entry into operation of the Utility Regulatory Authority (URA) in 2013.
  • The establishment of an Office of Sustainable Energy Development (OFSET) by mid-2014. This department aims to promote the development of sustainable energy.
  • Converting the MID Fund a Sustainable Energy Innovation and Development Fund (SEIDF) which will require, among other things, Levy on coal used to produce electricity.
  • The preparation of a Long-Term Energy Efficiency / Demand Side Management Master Plan.
  • Preparation of a Renewable Energy Master Plan.
  • The establishment of a Biomass and Renewable Energy Development Programme (BREDP).
  • Enable the CEB to engage in the use of renewable energies.
  • Revise the price of bagasse as an incentive to small and medium farmers.

Renewable Energy: A dozen new projects 

The authorities are in the presence of a dozen requests for renewable energy projects. 

Solar power 

At Bagatelle Mall - ENL Property plans to produce 35% of electricity consumed in Bagatelle Mall from solar energy. It plans to install solar panels with a capacity of 2.65 MW in the car park for its employees. This investment of Rs 20 million, ENL Property wants to save Rs 500 000 per year. 

The draft ENL Property abuts an obstacle, because it wants to sell electricity directly to the occupants of Bagatelle Mall. However, according to the Electricity Act, only the CEB can sell electricity. With the encouragement of the use of renewable energy sources, it is not ruled out that this law is amendée.À Mont Choisy - The Harel Group Mallac / Dhamma Energy consortium proposes to construct a photovoltaic park of a capacity of 10 MW. 


The Valo Re proponent intends to launch a storage project to 1000 kWh in the West on 10 hectares. He plans to install 16,640 solar panels for a project at a cost of 280 million. According to its business plan, it manages the project for the first 20 years before selling it to the CEB. These panels have a running time of approximately 30 years. 

Solar thermal 

Ajay Jogoo the consultant working on a solar thermal power project of 100 MW at a cost of Rs 14 billion for an IRS project. In his opinion, the price will be less than Rs 5 kWh. 

Culture Biomass 

The Equilibre-Bioenergy Production Ltdplans to grow plants that are sources of energy, as well as bagasse. It has grown mainly donax an area of 5,000 hectares in the medium term Arundo. This project will avoid the country imported 4,000 tons of coal. The firm plans to start an area of 3,000 hectares. To encourage the Arundo Donax culture, there is talk that the government provides subsidies of Rs 50,000 per hectare subsidies that would cover the cost of preparing the land. 

Energy from waste 

Solid Waste Recycling Ltd that deals composting waste at La Chaumiere has submitted a project to produce electricity from waste. A subsidiary company, Ultimate Power Producer Ltd, has been on this project. It will produce 15 MW from waste composting process. 

Solarprod Ltd, a subsidiary of FSB Holding, proposes to install a Energo resort in Mauritius. It uses the method of waste gasification for electricity production. Thus, an incinerator that processes 60,000 tonnes of waste will produce 1 MW of electricity. Green Waste Energy Group intends to produce 40 MW of electricity from 600 tons of household waste. 

Biodiesel: 2 projects submitted 

A pilot project to produce biodiesel from waste vegetable oil is underway. Currently, only 700 liters of waste vegetable oils used to produce 600 liters of biodiesel. The proponent intends to operate two million of the 2.9 million used vegetable oils produced annually by hospitals and hotels. Currently, the developer buys the oil Rs 5 per liter. It has sell biodiesel at Rs 39 per liter. Biodiesel is suitable for all vehicles using diesel. This promoter has also produce biodiesel from algae. Island Power Ltd plans to produce 500 liters of biodiesel per day from algae. 

Natural gas 

Eaglefin Structured Finance Mauritius Ltd submitted a proposal for the import and storage of natural gas (Compressed natural gas) and the construction of a plant with a capacity of 120 MW. 
For its part, GDF-Suez proposes the production of 346 MW using liquefied natural gas (LNG). 
The CEB has 7 hectares reserved for the storage of LNG and the installation of a plant in Fort William, Port Louis. 


Dr. K. Ramdhun submitted a project Kievnov Science and Environmental Technology Co Ltd who wants to install a biogas plant in Mauritius. 

NEC promotes the democratization of energy 

Establish cooperatives people to produce electricity from renewable sources. This is the proposal of the NEC to break "this trend of oligarchy" in the field of energy production. The Commission considers that the recent call for proposals for photovoltaic parks exercise capacity 5x2 MW only benefits the private sector. For NEC, the CEB should pay more attention to small farmers who meet in cooperatives. And shopping centers, apartments, and businesses, among other things, they use their roofs to generate electricity. 
It goes further by offering an incentive program: "One way to propagate solar energy generation plant Among small cooperatives and to lavish international funding Would be to work out a program for the coupling of the Fairtrade initiative with a Small / Medium Scale Distributed Generation (S / MSDG) scheme of 50 kilowatts to 4000 kilowatts (or 4 MW). "The Commission recommends that the Department of Energy to encourage farmer cooperatives to engage not only in solar but also in wind energy and bioenergy, among others. The democratization of energy also requires, according to the NEC, by setting up cooperatives of the people. 

Rethinking the CEB 

The NEC noted with apprehension that the private sector is involved in the use of renewable energy in line with the MID project. Thus, it proposes to rethink the role of CEB to make it the "driving force" of the energy component of the MID project. "CEB needs to be assigned a clear target share in the MID objective of 35% of electricity produced from RE by 2025. Government, through its main bodies, has to lead on MID’s implementation. The country needs the public and private sectors to be strong together. State monopoly and complete privatisation are two extremes to be avoided at all costs " says NEC.



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