GIS – 25 September 2013: The Bureau d’Education Catholique (BEC) launched a Rs 125 million photovoltaic project for its 39 schools, both primary and secondary. The ceremony was held yesterday at Notre Dame de Lourdes RCA School, Rose Hill in the presence of the Acting Prime Minister, Dr. Rashid Beebeejaun; the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Dr. Vasant Bunwaree; the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Devanand Virahsawmy, and other eminent personalities .
In his address, Dr. Beebeejaun congratulated the BEC for its laudable initiative towards the protection of the environment and the promotion of renewable energy. Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies, he said. The Maurice Ile Durable (MID) Fund has contributed Rs 17.5 million to the BEC photovoltaic project and in the future Government will invest some Rs 4 billion to sponsor renewable energy projects throughout the island.
The Acting Prime Minister recalled that several renewable energy projects are in the pipeline, namely, waves energy, biomass, hydroelectric, and waste to energy. While encouraging more people to turn into small independent power producers, Dr Beebeejaun cautioned that they have to be careful with the materials used in such projects. The materials should be sustainable, he added.
For his part, Dr. Bunwaree said the launch of projects like waste segregation, compost, rain water harvesting, tree planting, and endemic gardens, which are being carried out in schools since a few years now, have encouraged school children to develop wholesome habits for the protection of the environment.
He pointed out that Government Programme 2012-2015 outlines sustainable development and renewable energy as the way forward. In this context, apart from photovoltaic and wind farm projects, Government plans to develop of the blue economy by exploiting marine resources for energy. Minister Bunwaree underlined that most renewable energy investments are spent on materials and workmanship to build and maintain the facilities, rather than on costly energy imports.
Minister Virahsawmy stated that investments in renewable energy projects will in the long run help to tackle the energy demand of the country. The BEC project will not only sensitise pupils, but their teachers and parents as well to the fact that renewable energy is far cleaner than fossil fuels, he said.
According to the Minister, renewable energy still has a long way to go to replace fossil fuels and become primary source of energy consumption. However, things have been lately definitely moving in the right direction, he said. On that score, some 58 000 families have already benefitted from the solar water heater scheme which has been sanctioned by the Government to the tune of Rs 600 million. In the wake of the success obtained with the solar water heater scheme and the household compost scheme, a water harvesting scheme will be launched shortly so as to encourage people to collect rain water.
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