First Interim Evaluation for the GCF programme Accelerating the Transformational Change to a low carbon Economy in the Republic of Mauritius

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2017-2023, Mauritius
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2021
Completion Date:
12/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

Executive Summary

With financial support of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is helping the Government of Republic of Mauritius in achieving its renewable energy targets through the project “Accelerating the Transformational Shift to a Low Carbon Economy in the Republic of Mauritius”. The UNDP Country Office in Mauritius and Seychelles conducted an interim evaluation (IE) towards the end of the first phase of the project as a requirement set in Schedule 4 of the Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) for the project. The Interim Evaluation (IE) assessed the implementation of the project and its alignment with FAA obligations and progress towards the achievement of the project objectives and outcomes as specified in the Project Document. Due to COVID – 19 pandemic travel restrictions, the international consultant could not travel to Mauritius and most of the interviews were conducted virtually. All stakeholders were available for the interviews and showed their willingness to be interviewed remotely.  However, the national consultant was able to visit the project sites and interact with the stakeholders. 

Project Description

The project is aimed at enabling the Government of Mauritius to meet its target of using renewables to supply 35 percent of the country’s electricity needs by 2025, under its Renewable Energy Roadmap 2030 for the Electricity Sector. It consists of 3 inter-related components:

•            Component 1: Institutional strengthening for renewable energy

•            Component 2: Improving Grid Absorption Capacity followed by PV deployment

•            Component 3: PV mini grids on the Outer Island of Agalega

The project is implemented in a two-phase approach to reduce the implementation risks and ensure that the second funding disbursement is contingent upon successful completion of the first phase. Under Phase 1, which is the focus of this IE, the following components were to be executed:

Component 1: Institutional strengthening for renewable energy

Component 2 Phase 1: Improving Grid Absorption

Project Progress Summary

Overall, despite the challenge caused by the pandemic, significant progress has been made in the implementation of the project core activities in Phase I, bringing the project closer towards the achievement of intended outcomes on Fund level impacts of Reduced emissions through increased low-emission energy access and power generation. The total project delivery is 95%. Given that the direct emissions reductions attributable to the project will result from the direct installation of PV using GCF support only in phase II (as per the approved funding proposal), the current value is still nil. The intermittent RE generated increased from 53.8 GWh in 2017 to 163.8 GWh in 2020. The indirect emissions avoided in Phase I, with increasing installations of intermittent RE power on the grid (115.5 MW as of August 2021 compared to 34 MW at the start of the project) through increased grid absorption capacity for intermittent RE, is estimated at 181 500 tonnes of CO2.

The contribution of the GCF project under Output 1.1 has materialised in a substantive manner with all the deliverables completed and an enabling environment created through an enhanced policy and regulatory framework and the strengthening of the Utility Regulatory Authority (URA) and the Mauritius Renewable Energy Agency (MARENA)). URA and MARENA are both functional agencies with a core staff [1]and have been provided with the necessary tools and knowledge through the project. The key regulatory instruments (mainly the Electricity Act) are expected to be promulgated before the end of the year. The grid codes and tariff methodology are milestone deliveries of this project which will allow the Electricity Act to be proclaimed soon and the subsequent regulation of the electricity market. At a second level, regulations regarding Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) and Accreditation of Operators have been developed by MARENA.  The project has helped URA to grow as a regulator. Without a good regulator for the electricity market and the elaboration of grid codes and the setting of tariffs for Renewable Energy (RE), it will be impossible to reach ambitious RE targets. The Government, in the 2021-2022 budget speech, announced an increase in the share of RE in the electricity mix from 40% to an ambitious target of 60% by 2030 and as such will need a strong advisory arm.  MARENA is the nodal agency mandated to promote the adoption and use of renewable energy with a view to achieve sustainable development goals as per MARENA ACT 2015.  The awareness sessions led by MARENA in its capacity and mandate to promote RE in the Republic of Mauritius as well as the training of women entrepreneurs in basic solar PV and entrepreneurship skills are activities which have contributed greatly to not only disseminating and enhancing knowledge and awareness of RE in the local population but also empowering women to utilize RE technologies to earn a living. All these activities will help in the deployment of rooftop Solar PV Panels in Phase II. The activities under Output 1.1 are on target to be achieved before the end of the year.

The activities under Output 2.1 are also on target to be achieved soon. The Automatic Generation Control (AGC) system is more than 85% completed. 14 MW of Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) out of the planned total of 18 MW (or 80%) have been installed at 5 Central Electricity Board (CEB) substations and are operational. CEB staffs have undergone a theoretical and hands-on-training during the installation and commissioning of the BESS as well as training aimed at enhancing their programming capabilities in view of better manipulating the new technologies being implemented. A 4 MW BESS was damaged during shipment to Mauritius and will be replaced and commissioned by November 2021. With the AGC software licenses to be purchased by October 2021, all the activities for Output 2.1 are foreseen to be completed by the end of the year. In 2018, as per CEB data, 34 MW of intermittent renewable energy systems was integrated to the grid. The 14 MW of BESS curently installed is now contributing to a larger share of intermittent RE on the grid (115.5 MW as of August 2021 based on CEB data).

AFD has confirmed in writing to UNDP the commitment of the loan facilities amounting to USD 19,200, 000 for the financing of Phase II and an action plan, evidencing continual operation of MARENA during the Funded Activity Implementation, is attached to this report. These are key conditions in the FAA precedent to the disbursement for Phase II.

As at end of August 2021, MARENA has 10 staff (5 female staff including the CEO) and URA has 14 staff (9 female staff including the CEO). Recruitment of 3 additional staff at MARENA is expected to be completed in 2021.

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Download document FP-UNDP-201016-5681-Funding proposal.docx related-document English 634.78 KB Posted 1107
Download document 2020.10.21 GCF Ltr - Notice of Default - FP033 (Mauritius).pdf tor English 1861.77 KB Posted 447
Download document Interim Evaluator TOR for UNDP-supported GCF-financed projects _Int vs 1.docx tor English 135.58 KB Posted 456
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Download document ToR- GCF Interim Evaluation.pdf tor English 430.83 KB Posted 389
Download document FIRSTI~1.PDF report English 1658.67 KB Posted 405
Title First Interim Evaluation for the GCF programme Accelerating the Transformational Change to a low carbon Economy in the Republic of Mauritius
Atlas Project Number: 00105006
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2023, Mauritius
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2021
Planned End Date: 12/2021
Management Response: No
Focus Area:
  • 1. Energy
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.5.1 Solutions developed, financed and applied at scale for energy efficiency and transformation to clean energy and zero-carbon development, for poverty eradication and structural transformation
SDG Goal
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
SDG Target
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • 7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding: Project
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 30,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Dilli Joshi International Consultant dillijoshi@gmail.com
Toolseeram Ramjeawon National Consultant ramjawon@uom.ac.mu MOROCCO
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, Central Electricity Board, Utility Regulatory Authority, Mauritius Renewable Energy Agency
Countries: MAURITIUS
Comments:

This is a GCF funded project and the actual date of the evaluation may change depending on when the first disbursement occurs.

Lessons
1.

Lesson Learned 1: Recruitment process for staff to be initiated immediately after project approval

With substantial delays in team recruitment, the project activities started nine months after project approval.  The team has been able to overcome the initial delays and very slow delivery progress to the present level of energy. In retrospect, there is substantial learning in this how to prevent such slow start-up phases. The recruitment process should start immediately after project approval and the team should be in place before the inception workshop.

Lesson Learned 2: Work planning to better anticipate delays in the procurement process

The PMU should anticipate and plan by accounting for potential further impacts of the pandemic for Phase II activities, especially when procuring items from abroad. Reduce impact of the pandemic by planning alternative procurement routes for essential items in the supply chain. The time frame for the procurement process through the Central Procurement Board (CPB)  and possible appeals through the Independent Review Panel (IRP) needs to be considered in the work planning. The impact and probability of this risk occurring must be properly evaluated in the risk log.

Lesson Learned 3: In co-financing through a loan by another financial institution, there must be clear interpretation if the loan is part of the project or in parallel to it.

The experience with the AFD loan to CEB has shown that it is advisable not to link two financial institutions with a loan in co-financing. In case it is so, there must be clear interpretation if the loan is part of the project or in parallel to it Also, planning for co-financing disbursement should factor in possible delays to adjust for implementation hurdles.

Lesson Learned 4: For more effective Monitoring and Evaluation(M&E), there must be due diligence in the formulation of indicators during project design and at the start of the project.

Some of the indicators and related targets in the Project Results Framework (PRF) were not found to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) and this impacts on the quality of the M&E. It is important that there is due diligence in the formulation of indicators during the project design, inception workshop and at the start of the project.

Lesson Learned 5: A contingency plan is needed to assess and mitigate against COVID 19 impacts in Phase II.

It is noteworthy that the impact of Covid 19 has been reported in Quarterly and APR Reports. It is recommended that a Covid-19 contingency plan should be prepared and included as a specific subsection within existing Quarterly reports to help identify potential solutions. It is also important to ensure proper stakeholder engagement and that appropriate stakeholders are involved in the review of key deliverables.


Findings
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