A new programme in Seychelles focusing on energy efficiency in state buildings and street lighting will soon launch.
Called 'Smart Energy in Public Spaces,' the new programme will include the installation of 10,000 LED streets lamps by 2020 across the three main islands of Seychelles: Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
"The same programme will also provide all the public schools with solar photovoltaic panels and other accessories for them to meet the schools' energy needs," said the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Didier Dogley at the opening of the energy fair on Friday.
The minister added that the programme will in the future cover health centres and old people's homes.
The energy trade fair -- done in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Fund (GEF) -- was showcasing the various technologies which exist on the local market for both renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is highly dependent on imported oil to meet its energy needs. Some 90 percent of the primary energy supply comes from imported fuel, and fuel for electricity generation accounts for 12 percent of the total government budget.
Earlier this year, $74,000 (SCR 1 million) was allocated to the Seychelles Energy Commission to develop a comprehensive energy efficiency programme.
Dogley said, "The world is going through an energy revolution and we must make sure as a nation we profit from the technological advances being made."
Participating in the fair was a local company, Energy Solution Seychelles, involved in the supply and installation of solar photovoltaic systems and energy efficient products.He said that to achieve energy security, "we clearly need to shift away from fossil fuel and embrace energy efficiency and renewable energy on a large scale."
The director of the company, Richard Hoareau, said that they participated in the trade fair to showcase how Seychelles can go green with technologies and ensure the supply of affordable, sustainable energy for everyone.
On the question of can we live harmoniously with the environment Hoareau said, "Many of our citizens do. I believe we can because it is our responsibility to leave the present and future generation with a better world."
He added that: "It is encouraging to see all parts of the society coming together to provide better solutions than what we have implemented in the past. It is our own personal responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet."
"With sea warming, we have seen the effect of coral bleaching. But the news is not that bad for Seychelles as we are pushing for the installation and usage of energy efficient technology," said Hoareau.
While it is important to have incentives in place for investors, Minister Dogley said the government must also eliminate barriers hindering progress in this sector.
"Today electricity for domestic users is highly subsidized, which we believe is a barrier for homeowners to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy," he said.
In addition to the new programme, the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) will also be awarding a contract for the solar PV Democratisation farm being financed by the Indian Government. This $3.4 million project will provide free energy to 300 Seychellois families currently reliant on social welfare.
There is presently a Seychelles Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programme, SEEREP, which is assisting families and small businesses to gain access to low-interest loans to invest in energy efficient electrical appliances and renewable energy.