On Friday 10 November in Port Louis, Mauritius, the Republic of Mauritius launched a US$191 million renewable energy project supported by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project aims to reduce fossil fuel imports and accelerate the nation’s shift to a low-carbon economy over a period of 20 years.
The 8-year project will support national goals to increase renewable energy to 35 percent of the energy mix by 2025 and reduce carbon dioxide output by 4.3 million tons. It is a key step in achieving the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement and supporting continued economic growth.
Honourable Ivan Leslie Collendavelloo, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, announced that Mauritius is on track to achieve the 35 percent target of the renewables in the energy mix with the launch of this project.
The project’s first phase is expected to strengthen the ability of the energy grid to use electricity generated by intermittent renewables, and support institutional strengthening through the operationalisation of the Mauritius Renewable Energy Agency (MARENA). The second phase will draw upon lessons learned during the first phase to accelerate the deployment of solar energy in Mauritius’ principal outer island, Agalega.
Currently, approximately 80 percent of Mauritius’ energy supply comes from fossil fuels. One of the most economically developed states in Africa, Mauritius, like many other Small Island Developing States, is still vulnerable to outside energy shocks.
Greenhouse gas emissions have been growing at 3 percent per year, as the island nation continues to develop its economy through tourism, transport, and information and communications technology. Coal and fuel oil currently dominate the island nation’s energy mix.
This is part of a broad national strategy to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels – to enhance energy security and climate change mitigation – and to support a strong economy and continued economic development.
The project is supported by UNDP. The principle finance comes from a US$28.2 million grant from the GCF, an initial US$18.7 million loan from the French Development Agency (AFD) to the Central Electricity Board, US$123.9 million in grant financing from the national government, and a US$1.4 million contribution from UNDP.
“This is an important step in achieving the goals outlined by the Paris Agreement and supporting low-carbon, climate-resilient development in Mauritius,” said UNDP Officer in Charge, Mrs. Aida Cisse Diagne. “This pioneering work by the Government of Mauritius will inform future climate actions in Small Island Developing States the world over.”