Seychelles inches closer to waste to energy project |30 September 2022
By Laura Pillay
Experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) met with government officials and stakeholders dealing with waste management and energy yesterday morning, as Seychelles works towards transforming the current waste management system, through the establishment of a waste to energy facility.
The facility, which forms part of the Solid Waste Master Plan 2020-2035 drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, establishes the foundation for transforming the current waste management system through the engagement of public and private partnership, with the aim of reducing the volume of waste while also producing energy.
Such a facility can reduce the volume of waste reaching landfills by 81 to 96 percent, while serving as a partial substitute the use of fossil fuels for electricity production. Furthermore, it can be used to mine decommissioned landfills, thereby making land available for other waste activities.
“It is a very important thing for us as it will help us with our strategy to be able to bring about a solution to help us with our current situation where we are faced with space constraints, and we cannot continue with land filling in Seychelles,” Minister Flavien Joubert explained yesterday.
Annually, around 85,000 tonnes of waste makes its way to the landfill, 50,000 tonnes of which can be converted to energy, and sold off to the existing Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) energy grid. Praslin and La Digue are to also be considered.
The IFC is to support and assist government in undertaking a feasibility study in the context of a transaction advisory mandate, involving a detailed due diligence evaluation, assessing the legal, financial and technical viability of the proposed project.
This first phase of the project which is expected to last eight months, aims to identify the most cost effective and reliable technical solution to treat the country’s waste according to government requirements and specifications, as well as appointing IFC as Lead Technical Adviser for the selection of a private partner to develop, finance and operate the waste-to-energy facility. After the eight-month timeframe, government is to launch the project to interested local or international investors.
The facility will drastically reduce the risk for landfill fires as has been the case in recent years, with materials, namely, wood, tyres and plastics, which pose the biggest fire risks as the main materials to be incinerated, treated and converted to energy.
However, other waste management processes will run alongside the waste to energy facility, due to the fact that certain categories of waste cannot be incinerated nor treated, such as certain types of plastics, metals and electronic waste.
“The important thing for us is to address our space problem, and the problem of contamination and risks. Today, the risk is really severe,” Minister Joubert added.
The solution is suited to small-island states, considering the space constraints, lack of access to recycling markets, and resource limitations.
Principal Investment Officer Bernard Atlan affirmed that the project is the best way forward towards a sustainable and most cost-effective solution for waste management.
The World Bank Group is assisting a number of countries to design waste treatment solutions which are more appropriate to the specificities of their respective environments.
“In island economies it is usually the case that because of the scarcity of land, and the high cost of energy, waste to energy type of solutions are usually strongly considered,” Mr Atlan stated.
Seychelles is aiming for as high as possible a diversion rate, thereby addressing the high cost of energy generation.
Local stakeholders who attended the meet included secretary of state for Finance Patrick Payet, chief executive of the Seychelles Energy Commission (SEC) Tony Imaduwa, principal secretary in the National Planning department Elizabeth Agathine, principal secretary for Environment Denis Matatiken, chief executive of the Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) Joel Valmont, deputy chief executive of the Landscape and Waste Management Agency (LWMA) Rahul Mangroo, and director general for Waste, Enforcement and Permits Nanette Laure.