Seychelles consists of over 115 islands located in the East coast of Africa with a total area of 455 km2. Its population is 88400 (census of Aug. 2010) and its GDP at current prices of 2009 was US$ 845 million. Seychelles per capita primary energy consumption is 1.9 TOE (tonne of oil equivalent) and its per capita electricity consumption 4,253 kWh. In 2010, the total primary energy supply (TPES) to Seychelles was 167,000 TOE and was consumed as follows: 37% for electricity generation by the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC), 28% for international aviation, 18% for road transports, 10% for auto-producers of electricity mainly hotels, 2% for industry mainly tuna canning factory and breweries, 2% for households (LPG for cooking), 1% for domestic aviation, 1% for domestic navigation and 1% for commerce.
PUC generates electricity from heavy fuel oil and light fuel oil using diesel engines. The installed capacity on the main island of Mahe is presently around 69 MW, and on Praslin 12 MW. There are a dozen of auto-producers of electricity including the large hotels and a few medium to large enterprises. There are a total of 26632 subscribed domestic electricity consumers with PUC and the number of households being around 22100, household rate of access to electricity is estimated as 99%.
The Seychelles Energy Policy for 2010-2030 was completed in 2010 and it mainly recommends a sustainable development of the energy sector focusing on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and reduction of dependence on oil to improve energy security. A diversification of the energy supply with a share of 15% from renewable energy is targeted for 2030 and 5% for 2020.
Seychelles is apparently endowed with abundant renewable energy resources especially for solar, biomass and ocean energy. A wind farm project of 6 MW is expected to be commissioned during the year 2012 in Victoria in cooperation with Masdar, and waste-to-energy power plant of 1 to 5 MW during the next two years with Mascarene Environment from Reunion Island. Several interests for grid-connected solar PV plants by private investors were also received by the Energy Commission in 2011. One pressing need on renewable energy at the present is a resource assessment for the most promising renewable energy sources.
Although Seychelles is not required under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol to implement emission reductions, it is nevertheless of strategic and economic importance that Seychelles reduces its dependence on fossil fuels and embraces low carbon and in particular renewable forms of energy, which is abundant in Seychelles. Following the recent increases in oil prices, Seychelles realized that it needed to transform its energy sector and diversify into other forms of energy, especially those with little or no greenhouse gas potential. Seychelles also depends upon long-haul travel for its tourism industry, in view of its insularity. So mechanisms to reduce its tourism carbon footprint are critical to the continued development of the tourism industry in Seychelles.
A new energy law, to be called the Seychelles Energy Act 2012, was prepared in 2011 and is expected to be passed by the National Assembly in 2012. The act will make provisions for IPP’s (independent power producers) using renewable energy to access the grid and operate alongside PUC. A study of feed-in tariff especially for solar PV, wind, biomass, biogas, will have yet to be undertaken.
A program on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and capacity building has been prepared and included in the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy (SSDS) for 2011-2020. However, there are some constraints mainly on the manpower and funding aspects. The planned activities of the Energy Commission on Energy Efficiency in 2012 include public awareness and energy auditing of large air-conditioned public buildings.