Housing ministry to install energy saving street lights

New energy saving street lights in Malé’s outer ring road and the Republic Square will save the government MVR28,000 (US$1,815) a month.

Speaking at a ceremony held at the environment ministry today to hand over the lights to the housing ministry, environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim said replacing 100 street lamps in the capital will reduce electricity costs by 68 percent.

“That is about 1,700 litres of oil that is being saved,” he was quoted as saying by newspaper Haveeru.

Housing minister Dr Mohamed Muiz said the ministry will install the energy saving lights within the next two weeks.

Thoriq said the environment ministry will be replacing street lamps in the capital and other islands under the ‘Fahi Ali’ energy efficiency programme.


Environment Minister attends International Renewable Energy Agency session

Environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim has told the plenary session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to take the lead in creating space for renewable energy technologies.

The Abu Dhabi based international organisation began its fifth session today, with Thoriq leading the Maldivian delegation and stressing the importance of IRENA in pushing countries to transform toward renewable energy.

IRENA counts over 100 states and the European Union as members, both supporting and providing a platform for international cooperation on the adoption of sustainable energy.

Thoriq also briefed the plenary session on the Maldives’ efforts to transform its own energy sector, revealed last year in the Accelerating Sustainable Private Investments in Renewable Energy programme (ASPIRE).

The ASPIRE programme aims to increase the proportion of sustainable energy consumed in the country by developing solar panel projects and fostering private sector participation for the development of renewable energy on the islands.

It was also announced in September that the government had a five-year target to generate 30 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources, though the government has also pledged to search for oil within the Maldives’ territorial waters.

More than 170 countries and representatives from 50 organisations are participating in the 2 day IRENA assembly, explained the Maldives Ministry of Environment and Energy.


China donates 200,000 energy efficient lights

China has today pledged to provide the Maldives with 200,000 energy efficient LED lights as part of an MoU for the provision of goods to assist in combatting climate change.

“Approximately MVR300 is estimated to be saved if the LED lights are used for 8 hours per day and if 75% of the LED lights which has been provided are used, MVR49 million would be saved,” read a press release from the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

The ministry last month launched the ‘It’s cool at 25’ campaign to reduce energy consumption in the country and potentially save MVR8,000 (US$519) – or seven percent – from household electricity bills.

Minister of Environment and Energy Throriq Ibrahim signed the MoU on behalf of the government, while Deputy Head of Commission at the Chinese Embassy in Maldives Liu Ching signed on behalf of the Chinese government.

In addition to providing an additional 250,000 LED lights in 2013 – subsequently used across 164 islands – China has more recently donated 200 waste bins worth MVR500,000 (US$32,425) to the Maldives.

As well as a steady stream of grant aid, the Chinese and Maldivian governments have recently penned deals regarding military aid and the development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, as well as the Chinese promising to “favorably consider” financing the Malé-Hulhulé bridge project.


MTCC not responsible for severe sand spill on Komandoo reef, says environment minister

The state owned Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) will not be penalised for a severe sand spill on the reef of Komandoo Island in Shaviyani Atoll, Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim told parliament today.

The sand spill – which has destroyed large swathes of the island’s reef – was caused by a storm surge, Thoriq said.

The MTCC – in charge of a coastal protection and land reclamation project on the island – had implemented the required measures to prevent sand spills, but bad weather and swells caused the erosion of reclaimed areas and washed piled up sand onto the reef, Thoriq said.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Komandoo MP Ahmed Nashid blamed the MTCC’s slow progress for the sand spill, claiming the sand piles had been left on the island’s shores since 2012.

If the project had been completed on time, the spill would not have taken place, he suggested.

Minister Thoriq told the Majlis this morning that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) had acknowledged sand had spilled onto the reef.

“However, the island council’s members said the spill was not reported in case it may halt the project,” said Thoriq.

MP Nashid had summoned the minister for questioning, asking if the ministry had done a survey of damages and if the MTCC would be penalised for the spill.

Thoriq said the environment ministry had not been informed of the spill prior to Nashid raising the issue, but had monitored the area afterwards. An EPA team had visited the site and found the MTCC had followed all environmental procedures outlined in the environmental impact assessment report, he explained.

According to Thoriq – who said the exact date of the spill was unknown – explained that the sand had now washed off into the ocean with currents and the reef was showing signs of regeneration.

If any party reports environmental violations, the EPA will inspect site and take required action, he added.

The ministry does not have the capacity to monitor all ongoing projects, and will only begin an inspection if a violation is reported. But the ministry does take punitive action against companies who violate EIAs, he insisted.

The government intends to carry out projects to address erosion in seven islands this year, the minister told MPs, with approximately 97 percent of inhabited islands in the Maldives reporting severe erosion.

The government will spend MVR116.3 million (US$ 7.5 million) on protecting 3,482 meters of shore in the seven islands, he said.

In May, environmental NGO EcoCare accused Netherlands based Boskalis of committing environmental crimes after it caused sand to be deposited onto Baa Atoll Eydhafushi Island during a reclamation project.

The company’s rainbow technique for reclamation had also covered houses and vegetation on Eydhafushi and Raa Meedhoo Island with sand and water.

Minivan News was unable to reach the EPA to confirm if action had been taken against Boskalis for damages.