Seychelles’ Energy Bill 2012 to allow production and use of clean power


21-December-2012

The Bill governs the electricity related activities, renewable energy and energy efficient activities and contains the legal basis for the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) created by the Kyoto Protocol.

It also establishes the Seychelles Energy Commission, which will be the regulatory authority responsible for implementing schemes, promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Giving an overview of the Bill, Environment and Energy Minister, Professor Rolph Payet said Seychelles is 100% dependent on petrol for its energy needs.  Petrol costs have gone up from $35 a barrel in 2001 to $145 within ten years, despite minor fluctuations.

Prof. Payet said PUC is presently spending R1 billion in fuel imports -- equivalent of 20% of the country’s budget.

He noted however that in recent years while fuel costs have gone up steadily -- a situation for Seychelles aggravated by piracy, which pushes up freight and insurance -- the price of renewable energy has gone down.

Prof. Payet said that government has been assessing the situation and in addition to the wind turbines on Ile de Romainville and Ile du Port funded by the UAE, it has been decided that a fair percentage of the $25 million grant received from the Indian government following the visit of President Pratibha Patil last year will be used to develop solar energy.

Underlining our vulnerability to imported energy, Prof. Payet recalled that one boat transporting LPG (cooking gas) to Seychelles was seized in 2010 by Somali pirates.  He said the climate change phenomenon also obliges us to tap alternative energy sources.

Prof. Payet also said that PUC has no immediate plans to reduce its power output, though he agreed with the views of some MNAs that the state company is not being fuel efficient.

He said present generators burn too much fuel and in addition, some energy is also lost in the distribution circuit.

He added that PUC presently spends 25% on operational costs and 75% of expenditure on fuel, which need to be reduced.

Prof. Payet also assured members that liberalisation will not mean that Seychelles becomes a dumping ground for substandard equipment to produce alternative energy. 

He said his ministry and the Energy Commission has been consulting experts from various international bodies, including ERENA, which is focused on renewable energy knowledge to support small island states.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, David Pierre, welcomed the principles of the Bill as “timely that will save the country money from fuel imports and render the country more co-friendly”. 

Leader of Government Business Marie-Antoinette Rose noted that only the private sector will be allowed to venture into alternative energy projects, to complement PUC operations.

She also welcomed the minister’s announcement that for the time being PUC capacity will not be reduced.

Emmanuel Fideria of Les Mamelles said the Bill provides enough encouragement for projects producing clean energy, with no repercussions on the environment. 

Charles de Commarmond of Cascade said hopefully energy production costs will eventually drop and impact positively on the cost of living.

The Bill  details the mechanisms for application of licences, regulations and restrictions on licences of permit holders, sale of surplus electricity, distribution of electricity and information and consumers’ education on renewable energy.

The Bill also covers tariffs, consumer protection standards and obligation of electricity consumers.
 
J.L.

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