With no known oil, natural gas or coal reserves, Mauritius is largely dependent on imported petroleum products for its energy requirements.
Renewable energy in Mauritius is on the rise, and according to the Government of Mauritius, biomass alone accounts for well over 20% of the national energy supply as of 2012.
Biomass in Mauritius consists largely of by-products from the sugar industry (bagasse), and during crop season, the sugar producers can meet all their energy requirements with biomass alone.
The surplus power generated by the biomass is being fed into the national electricity grid for distribution to the population of Mauritius – effectively reducing renewable energy waste down to a minimum.
Solar and wind power
With the island enjoying some theoretical solar radiation of 6 kWh/m2/day, there is a great potential for solar power in Mauritius.
Domestic solar water heaters are promoted by the Government of Mauritius, and the Development Bank of Mauritius offers low interest loans for purchase of solar powered water heaters for domestic use.
Although a field largely unexplored for the Mauritian market, the MRC (Mauritius Research Council) is carrying out various investigations for solar projects on behalf of the Government of Mauritius.
The MRC was setup in 1992 and its main objective is to promote and pioneer research for sustainable development around scientific, technological, economical and social activities in Mauritius, including energy efficiency and renewable energy.
As late as 2007, the MRC concluded in a report that the potential for solar and wind based energy solutions in Mauritius has not been clearly established. As as result of the report, a project was launched to install several anemometers and a pyranometer, with the objective to establish wind and solar atlases for Mauritius.
More information can be found at the MRC website.
Hydroelectric and thermal power
For electricity production, Mauritius uses a mix of hydroelectric and thermal power to produce and deliver electricity to the population of Mauritius.
The production and distribution of electricity in Mauritius is carried out by the CEB (Central Electricity Board), a parastatal organization owned by the Government of Mauritius.
The majority of the CEB electricity supply is procured from independent electricity producers in Mauritius, although some 40% of electricity is produced directly by the CEB through its various hydroelectric and thermal power stations across the island.
A sustained economic growth over the start of the millennium has increased the demand for electricity in recent years. Although renewable energy in Mauritius is fairly well developed compared to its Indian Ocean neighbours, it is for the most part still limited to the use of biomass in the sugar industry.
The country still imports around 1 million tons of petroleum products annually, accounting for some 75% of the national energy requirements.
For practical info on electricity, plugs and sockets, please see the post Electricity in Mauritius