Commonwealth country Mauritius has launched a US$191 million project to reduce fossil fuel imports and accelerate the country’s move towards a low-carbon economy over the next 20 years.
Supported by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the 8 year project plans to increase renewable energy to 35% of the national energy mix by 2025 and reduce its carbon dioxide output by 4.3 million tons.
Coal and fuel oil currently dominate the country’s energy mix.
Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, the Honourable Ivan Leslie Collendavelloo, announced at the launch that the project ensured Mauritius would be on track to achieve the 35% goal, which is part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement.
It is also expected to be a key step in continuing the country’s economic growth.
The project’s first phase looks to strengthen the energy grid’s ability to use electricity generated by intermittent renewables, supported by the Mauritius Renewable Energy Agency (MARENA).
Its second phase will analyse progress made by this first phase in order to help deploy solar energy to Mauritius’ principal outer island, Agalega.
It is part of a broader national strategy to reduce national dependence on fossil fuels, thereby enhancing energy security and mitigating climate change, and boost economic development in a strengthening economy.
Approximately 80% of Mauritius’ energy supply currently comes from fossil fuels, and like many other Small Island Developing States, it remains vulnerable to outside energy shocks, despite being one of the most economically developed states in Africa.
As its economy continues to develop through tourism, transport, and information and communications technology, the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown at 3% per year.
UNDP, who is supporting the project, has contributed US$1.4 million, whilst the principle finance comes from the GCF in a US$28.2 million grant.
A further US$18.7 million was loaned to the Central Electricity board by the French Development Agency, and US$123.9 million has been granted by the national government.
UNDP Officer in Charge, Aida Cisse Diagne, said: “This is an important step in achieving the goals outlined by the Paris Agreement and supporting low-carbon, climate-resilient development in Mauritius.
“This pioneering work by the Government of Mauritius will inform future climate actions in Small Island Developing States the world over.”
Read More: Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, explains how the country is responding to the serious power constraints that have haunted South Africa over the last few years, and outlines the strategy for achieving future energy security.