The Maldives want to Tax Tourists to become Carbon Neutral

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The Maldives is an archipelago about 1 meter above sea level in the Indian Ocean off India.  It’s a tropical paradise that survives on tourism.  Now they want to tax their tourists to become carbon neutral.  Despite the fact that tourists fly in to these islands on big polluting airplanes (see Maldives eyes $100 million tourist tax for CO2 plan by Nina Chestney, Reuters, posted 7/7/2012 on MSNBC).

A voluntary tax on tourists who visit the luxury resorts and white sands of the Maldives could raise up to $100 million a year towards the country’s aim to become carbon neutral by 2020, President Mohamed Waheed said…

“We have proposed the idea of a voluntary fund for air travelers coming to the Maldives. Even if each tourist contributed $10, that’s $10 million (a year) for us and a substantial contribution to the carbon neutral program,” he told Reuters this week…

The Maldives is reliant on imported fuel, like diesel, to generate electricity, which is estimated to have cost its economy around $240 million last year.

I’m not sure how that math works.  The voluntary tax could raise up to $100 million.  Or $10 million.  Which means they have from 1 million to 10 million tourists each year.  Based on an approximate seating capacity of 500, that’s 2,000 to 20,000 roundtrips for a Boeing 747-400.  Or from 6 to 55 per day.  At the low end that’s a 747-400 landing or taking off every 2 hours each day.  That’s a lot of carbon.  Which they can’t get rid of.  Unless they give up their tourist industry.  And “75-80 percent” of their economy.

It has now embarked on a $1.1-billion plan to generate 60 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020. Around 50 percent would come from solar photovoltaic power and the remaining 10 percent from wind energy and biofuels, Waheed said.

The country is rapidly trying to introduce solar in the capital Male and three islands which make up the greater Male area, covering about a third of the population.

It has plans to install about 2-3 megawatts (MW) of solar in the Male area but it would probably need 40 MW to meet electricity demand.

Interesting.  They’re going to replace 50% of their electrical capacity with 2-3 MW of photovoltaic power.  Which is only about 7.5% of the 40 MW they want to replace.  Of course the capacity factor of what they’re replacing, diesel-generated electricity, is about 90%.  While they’ll be lucky to get a 30% capacity factor from their solar cells.  Reducing that 3 MW to 0.9 MW.  Or about 2.3% of that 40 MW they’re replacing with it.  Which means their diesel generators will keep running.  Or there will be nothing but romantic moon-filled and candle-lit evenings.  And cool ocean breezes.  Even in their hospitals.

Perhaps they could find something better to spend that $1.1-billion on.


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