“This agreement serves as a key to unlock at least 30 Million Chinese Yuan or approximately R59 million as a grant from the Chinese government to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, through the South-South climate change cooperation framework and as such, the MEECC is proud to play a key role to further extend this relationship,” noted the principal secretary for energy and climate change Wills Agricole.

The MoU was signed by PS Agricole on behalf of the MEECC and Xie Ji, director general of the NDRC in the presence of Minister Didier Dogley, Chinese ambassador to Seychelles Yu Jinsong and other key stakeholders.

Both projects include installing solar photovoltaic panels whereby Curieuse will be able to be less dependent on gasoline generator which emits high carbon emissions and whereby 41 public schools will benefit from solar power energy.

Under the Climate Change South-South initiative which helps other developing countries through the provision of energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) goods and equipment, the Low Carbon Pilot is funded under the Provision of Goods for Addressing Climate Change Programme after the MEECC raised an application.

On a national level, the Low Carbon Pilot will help the country reach its target of producing 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, and 100% in the long-term, and adhere to its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the UNFCCC. It will also help in educating its youth on the theoretical and practical aspects of PV and incorporate Renewable Energy Technologies into the school curriculums.

“This MoU that we have just signed is a significant milestone in our ongoing fruitful collaboration between Seychelles and the People’s Republic of China and nowhere is this clearer than in energy and climate change fields, which further deepen the friendly relations between the two countries. So today’s signing demonstrates the government of Seychelles’ commitment in its pursuit to make Seychelles’ 100% RE and to increase the use of technology in the public sector and to build capacity in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

So by signing the MoU we have confirmed the cooperation between NDRC and MEECC to firstly make Curieuse island 100% renewable by receiving 96 solar panels of 270 wattpeak each and secondly, implement a solar school PV project for 41 public schools on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue by receiving 791 solar panels and lastly a very important donation of 800 solar street led lights,” noted PS Agricole.

Mr Xie expressed that the purpose of this MoU is to enhance the ability of Seychelles to deal with issues related to climate change and renewable energy.

“During our stay here, we visited some schools, La Digue and Curieuse to better evaluate the possibilities in making Seychelles a green island”.

Replying to a question from the press about the pollution level in China, Mr Xie said : “China is a big country and we have been working with plans of five years and we targeted the public with some strong public announcements to reduce the gas emission. China’s growth is 6.7% per year and we are trying our best to reduce pollution.”

The projects related to Curieuse and solar school will undoubtedly reduce our emission and allow us to get closer to our international commitment to meet our target of reducing of 122.5 ktCO2e in 2025, and an estimated 188 ktCO2e in 2030 relative to baseline emissions.

Minister Dogley added that “our target is to get 100% Renewable Energy goal by 2050. We want to go faster. Still there are several studies that need to be done to help us identify what technology we will use and where to place them. Currently we are doing various green initiatives and already with the solar panels we are advancing a lot. Today I am very happy as this project will benefit the population as a whole. 800 solar lights will brighten Seychelles and it will be a safer place at night for many. With the Eco-schools we want to have, the children themselves will educate their parents on becoming a greener country.”

When will the school project and the installation of lights happen? The PS explained that the Chinese delegation visited the areas and gave their suggestions about reinforcing the school roofs to be able to sustain the solar panels.

“Once this is done, the project will be implemented. For the lights also, it has been three years we are in negotiations and now once we get them VAT free, the lights will be in Seychelles. La Digue which is the eco-capital of Seychelles will also benefit from the Chinese expertise. After visiting the islands, the NDRC is looking into the possibility of introducing electric bicycles on the island,” the PS said. 

Curieuse 100% Renewable

Curieuse Island and the surrounding marine park is popular among locals, tourists and researchers alike because of its immense beauty and the rich biodiversity. It is managed by the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA). Curieuse is located just 10 minutes from Praslin by boat and welcomes around 50,000 visitors per year. On the other side of the island, a 1 hour hike from the SNPA base, is the Global Vision International base where volunteers help resident researchers with their projects.

Currently, electricity on Curieuse is being produced using generators by burning gasoline. They are very noisy and do not give a good impression when tourists visit Curieuse. Furthermore, US $7,500 is spent on fuel every year to generate electricity. This could rise if fuel prices increase in the future. This is money that could be spent on environmental conservation efforts instead. There is also a risk of fuel spillage in an environmentally sensitive area. In addition, pollution emitted by the generators contributes to climate change and damages the tourism brand for Curieuse and Seychelles in general.

Therefore, SNPA would like to switch to producing all of its energy from renewable sources. It intends to do this by installing a solar PV plus battery system which will meet the energy demand on Curieuse 24 hours a day. At the same time, the GVI base will also be provided with their solar PV plus battery system so that the whole island of Curieuse can become independent from fossil fuels. The generators will be kept only as an emergency backup. 

Solar School Project

The photovoltaic systems and weather monitoring devices will be installed on the rooftops of all the 41 public schools in Seychelles.

This will allow the Seychelles to: reduce its overall electricity expenses; help it reach its target of producing 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, and 100% in the long-term, and adhere to its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the UNFCCC; educate its youth on the theoretical and practical aspects of PV; incorporate renewable energy technologies into school curriculums; act as a leading example in local communities and surrounding regions; create job opportunities thus strengthening the economy and helping to reduce poverty in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals; gather crucial data for PV systems which will benefit Seychelles in accomplishing their 100% Renewable Energy goal by 2050.