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The Region of La Reunion

Name
The Region of La Reunion
Population
860,000 (2012)
GDP
14.6 million euros (2009)
The Region of La Reunion

Overview

GHG emissions (per year, inhabitant): 4.96 million tons CO2e. For further info on economic and political context, please see below.

Situated between Mauritius and Madagascar, the overseas French Region of La Reunion (or Reunion Island) is the only European territory in the Indian Ocean. In 2010, it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

With over 800,000 inhabitants, the island presents a dynamic domestic market which is open to the outside world, and supported by an annual growth rate of 5% over the last 40 years. The island’s geographical position and its status as a French region means that La Reunion is an ideal hub for investors wishing to develop their activities with Africa, Asia, Europe, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.

La Reunion is aiming to develop an ecological tourism sector, with the objective of welcoming 600,000 tourists by 2020. The local economy's primary sector is dominated by sugarcane, the secondary sector's main added value is provided by the agri-food industry and the island's tertiary sector has become its main employer.

Currently, nearly half (47%) of the island’s power is generated by coal-fired power stations. However, owing to its rich natural environment, La Reunion has exceptional potential for renewable energy generation (solar energy, marine energy, wind energy and biomass).

Acting on this, the Region has adopted a strategy for sustainable development which is largely based on the development of these renewable energy sources, and it aims to attain energy autonomy by 2030. In order to reach these goals, since 2007 La Reunion has implemented GERRI project (Green Energy Revolution). With GERRI, La Reunion aims to be the first territory in the world where all low carbon innovations are integrated into society, by 2030. This includes transport, tourism, energy production, storage and use, town planning and construction.

Current Activities

Energy efficiency

The distribution of electric consumption through the island varies according to the commercial, economic and industrial distribution of activities, but household consumption dominates electricity consumption, at 74%. Final energy consumption is constantly increasing with a growth of about 20% between 2000 and 2009. However, electricity consumption per habitant in 2009 was on average 1.29 megawatts (MW) per hour, while a metropolitan French resident consumed about 2.37 kilowatts per hour.

To reach energy autonomy, the Government plans to implement units of methanization for a potential of 12MW, and gasification of biomass of 120MW. By 2030 La Reunion is expected to develop 30MW from wave energy and about 100MW of ocean thermal energy conversion. Then by 2025, 100MW of wind power and around 300MW of photovoltaic energy is expected to be generated.

Renewable energy

The objective of the Global Plan of Action Regional Renewable Energy (Solar Plan Reunion Island, Climate Plan, PRERURE and more) is to reach an energy mix of 100% renewables by 2025-30. This mix will be made up of biomass (methanization of effluents and gasification of the biogas), marine energies, photovoltaics and wind energy.

  • Ample sunshine: typical radiation is on average 30% more than in continental France. La Reunion averages 1,350 hours of sunshine per year, with peaks of over 2,000 hours per year.
  • Biomass sites: with its prolific vegetation, sugarcane industry, and agricultural and corporate activity, multiple opportunities exist to evaluate biomass (wood, invasive species, compost, bagasse, farm byproducts and more).
  • Wind energy: the eastern part of the island is particularly conducive to the development of wind technology. 62% of the island’s surface is windy and provides for a wind potential at a height of 30 miles, with average wind speeds measuring between 6-7 meters per second.
  • Marine energy: the structure of the sea floor and properties of the currents have revealed strong potential for the development of technologies such as Pelamis (wave energy), SWAC (sea water air conditioning), OTC (ocean thermal energy conversion) stations, or turbines.

Clean transport

Reunion Regional Council wants to develop collective transport around the island in order to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, create better links between villages, improve mobility options and enhance access to mountain areas through the Trans-Eco-Express project.

Several electric bicycles and hybrid vehicles will be acquired, as well as photovoltaic recharging stations and electric vehicles, with the aim of having 50% electric vehicles on the island by 2030.

Sustainable land use

Under the Overseas Regions Act 84-747, August 2 1984, the Regional Council of La Reunion is responsible for setting up Regional Development Plans (SAR) to meet the needs of its growing population, protect agricultural and natural areas, strengthen social cohesion of Reunion society in an increasingly urban context, reinforce economic enterprise and social solidarity, and secure the territory by anticipating the effects of climate change. The Region plans to plant 35,000 trees in La Reunion in order to help offset its absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 10 000 within the framework of regional cooperation (Seychelles Project) .

The SAR is the umbrella document providing guidelines that apply to all other town planning regulations. Main challenges it addresses include reducing the share of fossil energy, reducing exposure to climate change effects, preserving the resource balance, protecting biodiversity, curbing pollution and sustaining landscapes and heritage. The Regional Council contributes to structuring and enhancing upland and mid-altitude villages, giving city centers new life, developing intermodal nodes and implementing a new regional social housing program.

Waste management

In La Reunion, waste management is shared between municipalities (responsible for household waste collection and sorting), utilities (waste treatment), the Department Council (household and similar waste treatment planning) and the Regional Council (non-household, industrial and farming waste collection, recovery and recycling, as well as landfill management).

International collaboration

La Reunion is well integrated in its Indian Ocean environment. In cooperation with neighboring islands (Mauritius, Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles) it has implemented a project called ACCLIMATE to adapt to the noticeable effects of climate change.

Together with the French Government, La Reunion is implementing a mobilization plan for the development of green economy trade, with the view of strengthening tourism and other sectors.

It also involves a number of European collaboration projects, for example research on tropical and subtropical biodiversity is currently underway.

Smart cities

Communities are working on implementing an intelligent electricity distribution network. There are also other initiatives for managing energy consumption in an intelligent way during peak hours.

GHG breakdown by sector (%) (GHG emissions due to fossil fuel) Total: 4162 kt:

Power  49% 
Transport 46%
Buildings 5%
Industry 5%
Agriculture/forestry 5%
Waste 5%

Current power sector mix (%):

Coal 49%
Gas 18%
Nuclear 0%
Wind 0.6%
Solar 2.6%
Biomass 10%
Hydraulic 20%
Biogas 0.3%

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