A two-day workshop focusing on the RE-SAT energy analytics platform in Mauritius which aims to improve renewable energy planning through high resolution power estimates opened, this morning, at Voilà Hotel in Bagatelle. RE-SAT is a project funded by the UK-Space Agency and led by the Institute for Environment Analytics, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of six Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), including Mauritius.
The aim of the project is to use earth observation and other data sources to support SIDS in their transition from fossil fuel electricity generation to renewables by implementing the energy planning platform - RE-SAT.
In his address, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, Dr D. Kawol, underlined that small islands have to face serious threats to their environment and their existence, despite the fact that they create the least emissions. He recalled that our islands rely heavily on imported fossil fuels, which are both costly and polluting adding that 79% of our electricity is produced from non-renewable sources. In 2017, the energy sector was the largest contributing sector and accounted for 76.3 % of the total emissions, he said.
Hence the need, he highlighted, to resort to renewable energy, especially solar energy which is cheaper than fossil fuel and other renewable energy sources. As regards Mauritius, he stated that Government is pursuing this strategy since the aim is to achieve 35% renewable energy by 2025. He recalled that seven solar farms of a total capacity of about 40MW are already operational and four others of capacity of 30 MW will be completed this year.
Dr Kawol also pointed out that under the Small-Scale Distributed Generation (SSDG) project, a total capacity of 2.57 MW has been achieved. The Central Electricity Board (CEB) will launch, in a few weeks, a new SSDG Scheme targeting residential customers with an average monthly consumption below 100 kWh, he stated.
Other projects include: reinforcement of the grid to accept up to 185 MW renewable energy and installation of solar PV mini grids in the island of Agalega under the provision of 28 million USD provided by the Green Climate Fund; funding of rooftop solar PV for a total of 25 MW in households, public buildings and buildings of NGOs; implementation of a 4 MW battery storage project and installation of 14 more this year. Furthermore, bids for a Waste to Energy plant are being evaluated and the CEB is working on increasing hydropower capacity at Sans Souci.
The training workshop
RE-SAT is an energy analytics platform that combines a centralised data repository with advance modelling and uses space and in-situ terrestrial data to provide highly detailed energy information to support users plan the transition from fossil fuel energy generation to renewable energy in their countries.
The RE-SAT project will allow participants to be trained in the use of enhanced modelling techniques to obtain more accurate data on solar, wind, wave and other renewable energy resources. Such data will lead to better planning of investment in renewable energy and grid improvement to accommodate intermittent energy sources.