LA DIGUE’S SUCCESS TRIGGERS NEW APPROACH TO ISLAND TRANPORTATION
(Posted 15th October 2013)
The delegation from Reunion to the Festival Kreol did not just come for fun in the sun but also staged on the opening day a successful renewable energy exhibition, showcasing some of the technology available from Reunion which can equally be installed in the Seychelles, where similar weather conditions exist.
In fact, during the week was a solar unit launched at the Constance Ephelia Resort in Port Launay, which fully powers the entire energy needs of a villa, a start towards greater use of sustainable and renewable energy sources to which the Seychelles government is committed.
This comes just two weeks after President James Alix Michel instituted a ministerial task force to explore how to roll out such sustainable energy sources and make use of them, with in particular the island of La Digue singled out for the introduction of electric carts, eventually substituting the use of petrol and diesel propelled vehicles.
Transport needs on La Digue have risen in recent years as tourism expanded and new resorts, guest houses and small locally owned hotels sprang up, and the pace of motorization has clearly not kept up with the growing number of visitors. Besides the conventional and traditional mode of transport by ox drawn wagon, or by bicycle, have regular saloons and minibuses been introduced to the island over the last decade, but, going by the brief the task force has, this will soon be a thing of the past. Accommodation providers will be able, with immediate effect, to apply for the allocation of electric carts, which can then take guests to and from the ferry port, although it has been pointed out that the number will be limited overall and strictly controlled to avoid proliferation beyond a clearly defined number matching arrivals on the island. The move to electric vehicles on La Digue should be completed by the year 2020 in line with the government’s commitment to turn La Digue into the eco capital of the archipelago, and by doing so also setting new standards for tourism islands and resorts elsewhere around the world.
Already are resort operators, business owners and the public at large called upon to use energy saving lamps and equipment, install solar water heaters to cut down on the use of electricity and install solar panels to supplement their electricity needs, all of which is aimed to reduce the amount of fuel burnt in generating electricity. Half a year ago were wind turbines installed and commissioned on the main island of Mahe and more such ventures are presently being explored to accelerate the ‘going green’ rollout across the Seychelles. Some smaller islands have already converted, as was reported here, to renewable energy sources but none on the scale as is now proposed for La Digue. Be sure to watch this space for future updates and news.