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Paving the way for renewable energy in Sri Lanka

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In line with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s political manifesto “Prospects for Prosperity and Splendor”, the government has taken steps to accelerate the energy transition from thermal to large-scale renewable energy. Sri Lanka plans to produce 70% renewable energy sources by 2030, doubling our current share of 35% renewable energy in electricity generation. This requires an additional 11,000 MW of clean renewable energy capacity leading to annual electricity generation of 21,000 GWh with an investment of USD 10 billion.

With the goal of achieving 70% electricity generation from renewable energy resources, sustainable energy development programs have been boosted in the country. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Sri Lanka (SLSEA), which falls under the Ministry of State responsible for the development of solar, wind and hydropower projects, has taken initiatives to develop an implementation framework of the sustainable energy development program.

The development of renewable energies brings a multitude of advantages to the country. It is necessary to seek indigenous energy resources. By improving electricity generation capacity based on renewable energy, Sri Lanka can increase the share of indigenous energy. Improving energy security is a key aspect to consider in developing the energy sector and increasing the share of indigenous energy.

Larger scale projects

Renewable energy development projects have been implemented in a range from 1 MW to 10 MW. Through the implementation of larger-scale projects such as 100MW or more, it is possible to attract high-end companies investing in renewable energy in the world to Sri Lanka, where they could have the most technologies. sophisticated at the most competitive prices. This type of international investment will be a boon to the overall economy of the country.

SLSEA is taking steps to streamline renewable energy development programs. Steps are being taken to identify suitable land and locations to develop different renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass in different parts of the country.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed renewable energy power generation promotion agencies including SLSEA to come up with proper plans to supply electricity from renewable energy sources to villages remote, as it is also not economical and practical to supply electricity through the national power grid under the circumstances. .

SLSEA has embarked on a project to facilitate the implementation of projects through the use of renewable energy sources in off-grid power systems. Under this initiative, technical assistance is being provided for the networking of rural hydropower plants through a pilot project in the villages of Meemure, Udagaldebokka and Galamuduna, which are isolated settlements in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Minipe in Kandy district.

Photovoltaic solar systems

Electricity is supplied to the villages of Galamuduna, Udagaldebokka and Medakelle under this program using solar photovoltaic systems with mini-grid battery storage systems. Technical assistance is also being provided to develop rural hydropower plants in the remote Kalukandawa village of Palindanuwara. In addition to rural electrification based on renewable energy, interventions are underway to target rural households, such as the start-up of solar-powered water pump supply activities for agrarian families in Rajangane and the supply of small-scale solar kits for school children in remote villages and photovoltaic solar street lights. fixed in public places.

President SLSEA Eng. Ranjith Sepala told the Sunday Observer that residents of Medakele, Galamuduwa and Udagaldebokka face difficulties without basic infrastructure to access mainly roads, electricity, healthcare, education and marketing facilities. . Given the location of these three villages, it is not possible to supply electricity from the national grid to this area where around a hundred families live due to the high cost involved.

“According to our estimates to supply electricity from the national grid in this region, it costs at least 200 million rupees. But thanks to the innovative centralized off-grid system, the total cost is around Rs 56 million. There are 38 schoolchildren in the three villages, who walk around 16 km up and down daily to school along ramshackle gravel roads through the wildlife-haunted jungle. The villagers encounter many difficulties in obtaining marketing facilities for their production of pepper, kurakkan, maize, bee honey and Kithul honey. These inconveniences and difficulties will be alleviated once the village electrification program is completed,” said the SLSEA Chairman.

He said that to achieve the goal of 70% renewable energy from the national grid by 2030, there will be electricity generation such as 4800 MW and 3500 MW from solar and electricity. wind energy between 2022 and 2030.

The level of electrification of the country has reached almost 100%, where almost all localities accessible by the national electricity network are supplied with electricity on the grid. To achieve full island-wide electrification, it is planned to supply electricity to rural localities far from the grid using off-grid electricity systems based on renewable energy, as this offers a more economical solution. for these locations in relation to the expansion of the national electricity grid. Grid.

Electrification programs

The three rural electrification programs using solar energy will be implemented in the Hasalaka Divisional Secretariat area by SLSEA. Solar power is generated using 25 kW capacity solar photovoltaic systems installed at a central location in the village, where battery packs are also installed for energy storage at the same location.

All households in the village are connected to the centralized power supply system via an alternating current network, where the supply of electricity within 24 hours every day is ensured by using the energy stored in the batteries for the night-time electrical needs of the households. It meets their energy needs for lighting, television and other essential needs, which greatly increases people’s living standards, especially by providing improved lighting solutions with LED lamps. for children’s studies.

According to the chairman of SLSEA, the electricity supply system has an integrated energy management system using smart metering methods, which provides an optimal solution for the efficient use of solar electricity. A rechargeable card is provided to each dwelling, which functions as the activation system for the power supply of each dwelling used in conjunction with the smart meters installed in the houses.

At the beginning of the month, the card is activated for a predetermined number of electricity units, and the owner must manage his electricity consumption within the particular limit. If exceeded, he has to recharge it by paying at a higher rate, and therefore households are encouraged to use their electricity at optimal levels across the system.

Pilot projects

These three projects are being implemented by SLSEA as pilot projects to demonstrate an autonomous energy supply system managed by smart metering systems. Based on the results of these projects, it will be possible to provide similar electrical systems with more sophisticated inputs for household electrification using renewable energy and energy management systems based on smart meters in the way the most effective.

The initiative will provide an attractive solution for rural electrification using off-grid systems based on renewable energy, and by replicating it, it will be possible to achieve full electrification of the country in a short time.

As part of the National Accelerated Renewable Energy Supply Programme, construction works for the Moragolla and Broadlands hydropower plants are in full swing. The Moragolla Power Station is the final element of the hydropower generation projects under the Mahaweli Ganga Diversion Scheme, while the Brodlands Hydropower Project is the final stage of the Laksapana Power Station Complex. The power generation capacity of the two plants is 66 MW.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Sri Lanka is the main government organization involved in the development of renewable energy. It is an organization promulgated by Law No. 35 of 2007. The government is strongly committed to the development of renewable energies. SLSEA develops investment-ready power park projects using solar and wind power in the 100 MW capacity range.

Siyambalanduwa Project

The Siyambalanduwa 100MW solar power project, which is a model energy park project being the first of its kind, will generate 148 GWh of clean energy per year, which will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 147,542 tons. The project consists of a solar park and a 27 km 132 KV transmission line in one package.

The Pooneryn 100 MW wind project and the Mannar 100 MW wind project will be commissioned soon. Pooneryn is one of the most attractive renewable energy sites in the country with 240 MW of wind power and 150 MW of solar power. Some 100 MW of wind energy will be harnessed in the first phase as a first model wind energy park with all initial studies and regulatory approval available to the investor.

The Pooneryn 100MW wind project will initially generate 370 GWh of clean energy per year, resulting in a reduction in GHG emissions of 265,732 tonnes. The 100 MW Mannar Wind Project has the highest wind potential in the country with over 300 MW estimated. The first phase of wind energy development with a capacity of 100 MW has been implemented by the CEB with an estimated annual electricity production of 400 GWh. A feasibility study and an environmental impact study are being carried out by SLSEA and CEB for the second phase.

The project will generate 380 GWh of energy per year, resulting in a reduction of 270,350 tonnes of GHG emissions.

Proposed renewable energy projects

Renewable energy resource allocation and project facilitation processes continued over the past year with significant progress in registering tendered solar energy projects with the SLSEA and issuing energy permits for them. . Some 101 projects have been registered and 89 energy permits have been issued for one MW projects and provisional approval has been given for 81 projects with a capacity of 57 MW under the 150 solar tender. MW at the end of October last year.