New renewable energy sources of Mauritius
The state of Mauritius is far away in the Indian Ocean, separated from other countries. And since it was forced to be separated from the others, it had to give up some of the usual fuel: oil and coal. Instead, Mauritius turned to its main industry for electricity generation: sugar culture. The residues of crushed stems and cane tips, a dry fibrous matter known as bagasse, are burned to help the country reduce its dependence on coal and oil producing countries.
New renewable energy sources: sugar
Sugar electricity currently provides 14 per cent of the island’s needs. And by combining it with other less new renewable sources, such as solar energy and wind and water stations, these resources provide almost a quarter of the daily consumption of the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Kollendavelloo mentioned in his speech that the Ministry is going to raise the share of eco-energy to 35% by 2025. And this value is quite achievable for the country. Next year on the territory of the island state will be 11 more solar parks and two wind farms.
Now 60% of the island’s electricity is generated by 4 sugar companies. In addition, each of them has at least one of its own thermal power plants.
Jacques D’Unienville, manager of Omnicane, noticed that electricity on the island will now be available 24 hours a day, without having to wait for wind or sun. Thus, the country is going to save on oil and coal. By the way, the CO2 emitted during combustion is already used to create carbonated beverages.
Will new renewable energy sources survive?
However, recently on the horizon there was a threat of falling sugar prices. It is the consequence of the fact that the EU stopped quotas in 2017. In addition, sugar production in other countries has increased in recent years, especially in Thailand, Brazil and India, which together has exerted pressure on the island’s farmers.
Jacqueline Sozier, General Secretary of the Agricultural Chamber of Mauritius, said that the fall in sugar prices was “too much for the local sugar industry.”
“The number of farmers with small lands decreased to almost 13 thousand in 2018,” the Minister of Agriculture added.
The question is whether Mauritius will be able to produce the right amount of sugar to achieve its renewable energy target.
“Mauritius is a small island. We do not have the capacity of Thailand, Brazil or India, but we are an effective producer because we value the entire sugar production chain,” D’Unienville said.