German support for clean energy drive | Sunday Observer

German support for clean energy drive

Minister Ravi Karunanayake and  German Ambassador Jörn Rohde  Pix: Chaminda Niroshana
Minister Ravi Karunanayake and German Ambassador Jörn Rohde Pix: Chaminda Niroshana

The German Federal Foreign Office is collaborating with the Ministry of Power, Energy and Business Development to launch the Green Energy Champion (GEC) initiative for the third successive year to help Sri Lanka move away from fossil fuels and accelerate the adoption of clean, renewable energy alternatives.

Schools, public sector entities, private sector companies, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) can submit their proposals for the initiative.

Nine ideas will be shortlisted for a workshop to fine-tune the ideas and presentations. Proposals will be assessed by a jury panel comprising representatives of the German Embassy, Ministry of Power, Energy and Business Development, Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority and GIZ.

Winners will receive Rs. 12 million to implement the project proposals.

The program is being implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Sri Lanka’s Sustainable Energy Authority.

Green Energy Champion Sri Lanka is an educational and encouragement platform. The main program is a contest seeking to generate proposals from the public and private sectors and civil society organisations to conceptualise, present and win funds to implement innovative projects involving renewable energy.

Minister Ravi Karunanayake said, “Renewables is the direction in which our country should go to stay in tune with where other countries are going amid environmental and climate change challenges. I am delighted that the partnership between our two countries is being strengthened in this field of clean and cost-effective energy, through this initiative.

“We are tapping into the innovative talents of our people to come up with great clean energy proposals and giving them funds to implement them. The impetus to move from dependence on fossil fuels to renewable is desirable and commendable,” the Minister said.

“The public perception with regard to renewable energy is changing towards green concept. Over 99 percent of the households are provided with electricity.

The development of hydro-power projects is phenomenal. The country needs to make use of the ingredients of nature, such as wind, water and the sun. Non-renewable energy cost is high. It is necessary to meet the demand for energy through renewable energy sources by 2050,” Karunanayake said.

“The country is moving towards renewable energy sources. There is a 30-percent gap between demand and supply of power.

We are an over-priced power generation country. We need to have our input cost cheap for power generation,” he said.

German Ambassador Rohde said, “Sri Lanka and Germany share the same view that climate change is a major challenge for the planet. Transforming the way we generate power and improving energy efficiency is inevitably part of the solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“There are great people out there with fantastic ideas to create practical examples for a change towards a sustainable green energy. The Green Energy Champion Program is a tangible contribution to support those people and institutions in Sri Lanka,” Rohde said.

GIZ Country Director Randa Kourieh-Ranarivelo said, “We have reached over 4.3 million people following a media campaign.”

In 2017, the competition drew 80 applicants. The Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA) won the first place for their proposal on solar power and energy efficiency, with the Diyagala Boys Town (DBT) project of the State Ministry of Science, Technology and Research, and Municipal Council Batticaloa finishing second and third.