by Sanath Nanayakkare
Against the backdrop of dwindling foreign exchange reserves and capacity shortages, the only logical solution for Sri Lanka to adopt is to adopt renewable energy as its primary source of power generation, Secretary Manjula Perera said yesterday. of the Wind Power Developers Association in Colombo.
He said this during a press conference held at the Hilton Colombo Residencies, convened by the associations of local entrepreneurs who have invested in the development of wind energy, small hydroelectricity, ground-based solar energy and bioenergy.
In particular, the associations reiterated that they only want political support and that they can secure the necessary funding for the projects if the government, the CEB and the relevant ministries act together to remove the bottlenecks that exist without a specific purpose.
“Sri Lanka is currently facing an acute energy crisis, mainly due to the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. The solution to this is for the country to switch to more renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biogas, biomass and hydroelectricity. Renewable energy also has a host of other benefits, both socially and economically,” said Manjula Perera.
“Renewable energy can be generated using Sri Lanka’s vast natural resources. It would also offer some relief to Sri Lanka’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves, as renewable energy does not need to rely on fuel imports,” he noted.
“However, one of the main issues facing the renewable energy sector is the government approval process, which can take years. This process should be streamlined and implemented in the most efficient way possible. Renewable energy developers also face a myriad of challenges from the CEB which has delayed approvals and grid connections, sometimes attributed to incorrect technical analysis. Bringing correct knowledge and international best practices to the CEB will help solve these problems,” he underlined.
Riyaz Sangani, former president of the Hydro Power Developers Association, said, “Our goal as a renewable energy sector is to help the government and people overcome the current energy crisis in the country. We believe that the key to this is to increase cooperation between government and the private sector. Only then can we successfully overcome all obstacles and switch to renewable energy.
“There are currently a total of 294 private sector renewable energy developer projects that have been commissioned. These projects have a combined capacity of 718.334 megawatts (MW). the country can truly reap the full benefits of renewable energy,” said Thusitha Peiris, president of the Small Hydro Power Developers Association.
He said that small hydropower projects have been on hold for years and today there is a growing need for local entrepreneurs to be able to start investing again in this sector in a conducive operational environment. .
“Another issue that has hampered the success of the renewable energy sector is the import restrictions imposed on the sector, which have made it difficult to obtain the necessary machinery,” the associations said.
“In addition to the immediate benefits that will accrue to the country, renewable energy sources also pose less risk to the climate and the environment. This will help protect the environment and ensure that the country’s development will not be hampered by environmental problems in the future,” they observed.
“Many local and foreign investors have shown interest in investing in renewable energy for Sri Lanka. You have to show these investors that it is a worthwhile investment and that the obstacles will be minimal. Only then can Sri Lanka overcome its socio-economic difficulties and pursue its development,” they stressed.