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Renewable energy source

Green advisor

A sustainable key for Mauritius

Isolated from the rest of the world, the inhabitants of Mauritius are dependent on imported energy carriers and eager to promote the nation’s sustainable development by using renewable alternatives.

The Republic of Mauritius, an island state in the south-west Indian Ocean, consists of the main island of Mauritius and several outlying islands. A former Dutch, French and most recently British colony, Mauritius gained independence in 1968. Since then the economy has diversified and the nation has witnessed a dramatic economic boom over the past 25 years.

Urgent electricity capacity needs

Electricity consumption in Mauritius has risen sharply in recent years as the economy has grown and living standards improved. In order to cope with an expected 30 percent escalation in peak demand by 2022, capacity needs to increase by approximately 200 MW. To safeguard the nation’s long-term sustainable development, it seems that renewable energy resources will play a central role in the future. This is reflected in the Mauritian government’s energy policy, which sets a target for 35 percent renewables by 2025, compared to just 21 percent today.

Troubles ahead

However, the extent of the capacity expansion and the reliance on ever greater volumes of electricity generated from non-controllable sources – in particular, wind and solar power – presents certain problems. The dilemma lies in balancing the grid at all times; any electricity generated and fed into the grid must be matched with a power consumer, or the entire system is at risk. As an island state with no interconnected neighbor to unburden the grid at times of overload, Mauritius has cause for concern. With its sights firmly set on optimizing the use of renewable sources of energy the key to success lies in determining the grid capacity. The challenge is to define the amount of distributed generation that the system can safely absorb in relation to projected demand without jeopardizing the safety and reliability of the grid.

ÅF to provide the answers

The Central Electricity Board of Mauritius, with the support from the World Bank and the UNDP Global Environment Facility, has entrusted ÅF with the task of helping the country to successfully overcome these issues by addressing several specific questions about the integration of renewable energy. ÅF was tasked with determining the grid’s absorption capacity for renewable energy. Based on the results it is possible to compute estimates of the technical maximum share of renewable energy as a prelude to safely connecting the anticipated increase in renewable capacity.

Socio-economic benefits

The work ÅF has been conducted to do will help to promote the use of renewable energy in the Mauritian electricity mix. The prime aim is to minimize the nation’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, other positive benefits include the potential of the investment to promote economic growth and job creation, democratize energy supply and secure electricity supplies.

Read more about this project in the latest issue of Green Advisor Report


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