The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has approved a US $1 million project preparation grant at the end of December 2013 to support Sotravic in the development and installation of the Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) System in Mauritius, an innovative low-carbon technology that lowers building cooling costs using cold ocean water.
It will thus contribute to an annual reduction of 40 000 tons of CO2 emissions, create 40 direct green jobs for skilled local engineers and technicians, and potentially create many more indirect jobs in downstream businesses such as aquaculture, pharmaceutical and bottling specialty water. It will also be the first such project in Africa with a high demonstration effect for other coastal cities on the continent.
The Deep Ocean Water Application (DOWA) Project consists in the construction and operation of a ground-breaking system that pumps cold water from the Indian Ocean and uses it for air conditioning purposes in buildings located in the heart of Port Louis and other nearby locations.
When completed, the project will replace energy-intensive traditional air conditioning systems in buildings currently consuming the equivalent of 30 MW of electricity with a cold ocean-water cooling system that requires only 4 MW of electrical power to operate. This will free 26 MW of electrical power to be used for other purposes, directly contributing to a greater generation reserve margin in a country that highly depends on fossil fuels and on the seasonal availability of hydro and bagasse cogeneration resources to ensure a reliable power supply.
Through this intervention, the African Development Bank (AfDB) will play a key role throughout the development phase of the project by engaging actively with the promoter and other key partners with the ultimate objective of structuring a bankable project for long-term financing. SEFA will finance offshore feasibility studies that include marine surveys, preliminary designs and also a preliminary assessment of the environmental and social impacts of the project.
Following the approval, Alex Rugamba, Director of the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, stated that, “This innovative project, led by a local engineering and construction company, will explore synergies between the ocean and the energy sector in Mauritius to deliver significant cost, energy and carbon savings while also creating jobs and new business opportunities. This is perfectly aligned with the Bank’s new strategy focused on supporting African countries in their transition to more green and inclusive growth models.”
Emmanuel André, Sotravic Chief Executive Officer, expressed the company’s satisfaction, “The entire DOWA team is pleased by the project preparation grant approval from SEFA and proud to contribute once again to the reduction of the country’s dependence on external sources of energy. We thank the African Development Bank for its support and pioneering involvement as well as the Government of Mauritius, which is creating the framework for the ocean economy.”