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  • Electricity production from renewable energies increases from 19.2% to 17.2%

Since 2014, the government has proclaimed its ambition to make renewable energies a central pillar of the energy sector. However, as his term draws to a close, that vision seems increasingly distant. Not only have the objectives set not been achieved, but the share of renewable energies in the energy mix continues to decline.

After a decline recorded in 2022, the data published by Statistics Mauritius, on Friday June 7, 2024, for the year 2023, are even more worrying. While Mauritius had achieved green energy production of 19.2% in 2022, already marking a decline, this figure increased to 17.6% in 2023. Which represents a further decline.

This trend is alarming in a sector for which the government had displayed great ambitions, one of which is to achieve green energy production of 60% by 2030. Some experts continue to believe that this objective remains achievable, provided, however, that serious measures are taken and that the roadmap presented in 2022 is fully implemented. Others, on the other hand, think that the objective of 35% for 2025 already seems compromised.

Renewable energy sources exploited in Mauritius include hydroelectricity, solar energy, bagasse, wind energy and biogas from landfills. According to data from Statistics Mauritius, only energy production from bagasse recorded a slight increase of 0.4%.

For other sources, the trend is downward. For example, hydroelectric energy production increased from 4.1% in 2022 to 2.9% in 2023. Figures from Statistics Mauritius indicate that hydroelectric energy production increased from 11,031 tonnes to 8 121 tonnes during the mentioned period.

As for wind energy, which accounted for 0.5% in 2022, it increased to 0.3% in 2023, with energy production decreasing from 1,331 tonnes to 743 tonnes. That from biogas from landfills also decreased, from 0.6% in 2022 to 0.4% in 2023. It thus fell from 1,480 tonnes to 1,145 tonnes. Production from solar energy also recorded a decline. It increased from 5.0% in 2022 to 4.6% in 2023, or from 13,284 tonnes to 12,793 tonnes.

What these data highlight above all is the need for Mauritius to review its strategies and policies regarding renewable energies. The country should consider investing more in research, development and infrastructure to fully exploit its green energy potential. An integrated and holistic approach, involving collaborations between government, the private sector and civil society is essential to overcome these challenges. This would enable progress towards a more sustainable and resilient economy.

Patrick Assirvaden, responsible for the Energy file within the Labor Party (PTr), maintains that the recent figures highlight the flagrant lack of coherence and planning in the government's energy policy: “This demonstrates a lack of coherence in relation to to everything that has been done over the last ten years. The government and Minister Lesjongard are becoming specialists in meaningless announcements. Internationally, commitments have been made to produce 40% green energy by 2030. I am saddened to see that our energy transition is failing. »

According to him, the government should have invested massively in large-scale renewable energy projects.

“He only focuses on kilowatt projects when he should have focused on megawatts,” says the PTr deputy. He adds that it is symbolic to see the MSM and Energy Minister Joe Lesjongard end their mandate on a note that he describes as disastrous in the green energy sector.

Khalil Elahee, energy expert and lecturer at the University of Mauritius, says he is deeply worried. For him, this production from renewable energies is historic. “Such a situation has not been observed since the 1980s,” he said. While he welcomes the increase in green energy production thanks to bagasse, he nevertheless warns of its energy inefficiency. He explains that bagasse, as an energy source, is not optimal in terms of efficiency because it does not produce a significant amount of energy.

To reverse the situation, according to him, the government should take a firm and definitive decision regarding the implementation of the updated roadmap in 2022. Khalil Elahee is convinced that this document constitutes a solid basis on which it is necessary to rely on to address the issue of the country's energy transition.

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