Fossil fuels are non-renewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources—such as wind and solar energy—are constantly replenished and will never run out.
Renewable Resources in Mauritius
The renewable energy sector is fast expanding in Mauritius thanks to increased awareness about the need to save energy, to switch to cleaner energy and to protect our environment. This sector also presents numerous opportunities for investment. The energy sector provides many investment opportunities to small and large entrepreneurs alike. The government is attracting both foreign and local investors to set up wind farms and solar farms locally.
Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.
The sun’s heat also drives the winds, whose energy is captured with wind turbines. The Earth’s rotation also contributes to the winds, particularly through the Coriolis effect.
Along with the rain and snow, sunlight causes plants to grow. The organic matter that makes up those plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals.
Not all renewable energy resources come from the sun. Geothermal energy taps the Earth’s internal heat for a variety of uses, including electric power production and the heating and cooling of buildings.
Hydrogen can be found in many organic compounds, as well as water. It’s the most abundant element on the Earth. Because energy is always needed to produce hydrogen, it is not an energy source, but a way to store and transport energy, so it is referred to as an energy carrier.
The ocean can produce thermal energy from the sun’s heat and mechanical energy from the tides and waves.
Flowing water creates energy that can be captured and turned into electricity. This is called hydroelectric power or hydropower.
Frankie Tang, economist, has proposed a series of measures for the renewable energy sector in the wake of the forthcoming Budget. “This important sector has a slow kick off because of the lack of incentives to the general public. I hope the next Budget unveils some interesting measures to encourage people to turn to renewable energy. Investment in large scale energy generation will help solve future energy crisis. On the other hand, many Mauritian households are also generating their own electricity to reduce their monthly bill by installing solar panels on their rooftops,” he explains. However, he adds, many people are reluctant to install solar panels on their homes because the investment cost is high while the benefits small.
– Tax deduction equivalent to the amount of investment, with the possibility of carrying over five years maximum
– Encourage the assembly of equipment in Mauritius by attracting local entrepreneurs but also foreign investors
– Train technicians to ensure qualified maintenance staff
– Offer grants to places of worship and NGOs to go solar
– Make the installation of solar panels mandatory for all new constructions, residential or other, exceeding 200 square metres, as a
condition for the issue of Building and Land Use Permit
– Provide BLP fee exemption for houses and building incorporating major green design
– Amend the ‘Morcellement Guidelines’ and other plans such as ‘Property Development Scheme’ to make partial use of solar energy
– Create ‘Energy Clubs’ in schools to educate young people about the importance of renewable energy
– Equip new residential projects of NHDC and MHC with solar panels Continue with the subsidy system for solar water heaters
– Invest in research and development
– Install solar panels on public buildings, schools, hospitals, etc
– Provide permanent residence or citizenship to foreign investors who set up large scale projects in this sector