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Energy Transition: Exchange Between Business Mauritius And MARENA

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How to implement the energy transition following the measures announced in the 2021-2022 budget? This was the main theme of the fifth meeting of the Energy Transition Entrepreneurs Club of Business Mauritius which was held on Wednesday, September 8, at Vivéa Business Park, in Moka.

For the occasion, the members welcomed Danen Beemadoo and Mreedula Mungra, respectively President and CEO of the Mauritius Renewable Energy Agency (MARENA). The discussions, which took place in the spirit of public-private dialogue, addressed various issues and provided clarification on several topics. Due to health restrictions, some of the participants took part in the discussions via videoconference.

“This club, led by Business Mauritius, demonstrates the commitment of the business community to actively participate in the energy transition,” said Mickaël Appaya, Head of Sustainability and Inclusive Growth at Business Mauritius. “It is about moving from a carbon-based model to a low-carbon model, while building the country’s socio-economic resilience. This will only be achievable if there is a concerted effort by all stakeholders, both public and private.

Energy Transition Entrepreneurs Club

Representatives of MARENA, an agency operating under the Ministry of Energy and Utilities, stressed the importance of renewable energy in Mauritius. In 2020, out of 2,882 GWh of electricity generated, 688 GWh was produced from renewable sources, representing 23.9% of energy production. “The objective of having 60% of renewable energy in the energy mix by 2030 is achievable if we give ourselves the means. The necessary infrastructure and the legal framework are there. However, the CEB will have to review its infrastructure in order to integrate renewable energy. Mauritius’ vast maritime space also contains a potential for the production of green energies that just needs to be exploited,” said Danen Beemadoo, President of MARENA.

Other initiatives for Mauritius were also mentioned, such as the phasing out of coal in thermal power plants, the creation of jobs in emerging sectors related to new technologies, the establishment of new training programs in universities, and the development of a roadmap for businesses. Ultimately, this transition will strengthen the power grid, improve economic growth and raise living standards in Mauritius.

The announcement of the implementation of the Biomass Framework by the government was also commented on. “The remuneration of bagasse at Rs 3.50 per kWh was highly anticipated by producers in the cane industry. Dialogue is urgently needed to identify and implement alternatives to replace coal in existing power plants. A public-private partnership could create a collection, transportation and selective sorting of green household waste. We could use invasive species in our forests to replace coal, which would reduce landfill and create many jobs. Some sectors, such as wood, take more than five years to become productive,” explains Gregory Bathfield, Project Development Manager at Alteo and member of the Biomass Working Group of the Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture.

Energy Transition Entrepreneurs Club

At the end of the discussion, representatives of MARENA and the Club des Entrepreneurs de la Transition Energétique committed to sharing more specific technical information. These will help in the preparation of the new roadmap to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix to 60% by 2030. This document will soon be published by MARENA.

Participant Statements

Lauréna Erriah, Associate Director of Canopee Engineering, a company involved in sustainable architecture

“The budget shows a willingness to move towards renewable energy, but there is nothing to concretely encourage the reduction of energy consumption in buildings. It’s a shame that the emphasis is on energy production without addressing demand management, for example, through thermal regulations that would have allowed for better management of the transition in the construction sector.

Olivier Gaering, Regional Director of Qair Mauritius, an independent power producer

“The recent budget emphasized the need to accelerate Mauritius’ energy transition, particularly through the revival of the wind energy sector. The CEB has already launched a tender for a 40 MW plant on July 13. Industry professionals welcome this, but recommend that future tender dates be announced in advance to give operators more visibility. In addition, since this sector is less known by young people, we must develop training courses in universities.

Prakash Ramiah, General Manager of LEAL Energie, member of the WMA Council

“Given the measures announced in the last budget, it is clear that the various partners, such as ministries, parastatals, employers’ associations, sectoral associations, etc., will have to work together with local renewable energy companies to achieve the zero coal target by 2030.

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