The Government of the Seychelles Archipelago and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have recently initiated a project on sustainable forest management and the assessment of bioenergy potential. A $5 million budget is allocated to the project.
What is the sustainable management of forests on the Seychelles islands? This issue, together with the assessment of the possible use of bioenergy, was at the centre of negotiations between the Government of Seychelles and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). They resulted in the signing of an agreement between FAO and the Seychelles Ministry of Energy, Environment and Climate Change.
The agreement provides for the implementation of a two-year project. With regard to sustainable forest management, the aim is to develop a new national forest policy and legislation that will ensure better monitoring of the archipelago’s forests. “The project will help us make more informed decisions on forest issues. It will help to further meet the country’s technical capacity needs through training, workshops and forest analysis,” says Wallace Cosgrow, Seychelles’s Minister of Energy, Environment and Climate Change.
FAO representative for Seychelles, Patrice Talla Takoukam, said that the development of the new policy will help the islands to meet international forest management standards.
The valorisation of bioenergy
The Seychelles Government and FAO bioenergy project is based on the analysis and identification of potential raw materials and bioenergy technologies. “With this project, we will use agricultural waste to produce energy. We held a kick-off workshop last week to launch this process. The first thing we will do is to identify how much biomass we can have and whether it is sufficient to produce electricity,” says Theodore Marguerite, Senior Energy Policy Analyst at the Seychelles Ministry of Energy, Environment and Climate Change.
As a reminder: the Seychelles government has also adopted a policy in favour of renewable energy production, particularly solar energy. It is one of the first African countries to embark on a floating solar park project. Now under construction, the park is located in the “Rock” Lagoon, in the Mamelles District on the main island and is expected to be completed by 2020. It will produce 5.8 GWh of electricity per year. A little further west, on Alphone Island, Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS), a company based in South Africa, has commissioned a 750 kWp off-grid system. It is equipped with Li-Ion batteries, supplied by Tesla, for electricity storage. The solar off-grid system provides electricity to Alphonse Island Lodge, a company specialising in travel and ecotourism on the island, to Island Conservation Society and Seychelles Peoples Defence Forces, as well as 190 homes.
Jean Marie Takouleu