Sri Lanka needs us $ 7-8b in investments | Sunday Observer
Meeting 2030 renewable energy targets

Sri Lanka needs us $ 7-8b in investments

29 January, 2023
Dr. Lakmal Fernando
Dr. Lakmal Fernando

Sri Lanka will need around USD 7 to 8 billion in investments, to achieve the 70% renewable energy (RE) target by 2030, said co-founder and Managing Director/CEO of Regen Renewables (Pvt) Ltd and Chairman, SRT Energy (Pvt) Ltd, Dr. Lakmal Fernando.

“We are aiming at adding 9GW of RE (combination of wind and solar) to the national grid to achieve the 70% Renewable Energy target by 2030 and to meet international climate control goals and commitments.

“However funding for this is a major uphill task for a financially unstable economy such as Sri Lanka and would have to look at foreign funding for these projects,” he said.

Dr. Fernando was speaking at the 64th Annual General Meeting of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka.

Deepal Nelson was elected President replacing Nandika Buddhipala.

“We have moved away from RE over the last few decades as the only substantial RE addition done to the national grid over the last few years is Rooftop Solar which to date stands at 650+MW.

“The RT solar growth also has got drastically affected by lack of policy, direction and government support to provide a financially conducive feeding tariff. Nonpayment to the Renewable Energy cluster of around Rs. 40 billion by authorities drove the industry to a new dimension.

“Though solar rooftops can absorb as much as 20-25% of the general consumption in specific areas according to the research and global experience, Sri Lanka’s Solar RT presence is still under 1%.

“This is very clearly showing that we still have a huge potential to increase the RE contribution to the Grid by Rooftop Solar.

Out of 6.65mn electricity accounts, out of which, 6,350,000 are consuming less than 180 units a month and 4,860,793 of them are consuming less than 90 units a month.

“If we convert 25% to the smallest size solar project of 3Kw we will have around 5GW of installed capacity which will be around 50% of our addition needed.

“We have a very backward and negative approach to RE integration in Sri Lanka. This needs to be taken a 180 degree turn if we are to survive. The countries that have shown greater fossil fuel biasness and dependency are paying the price today including Sri Lanka.

“One clear change we need to do in Sri Lanka is to bring in the international bankability to the power purchasing agreements.

“It’s time for us to look at a RE export economy. The green hydrogen energy is picking up very fast. The reactor costs are coming down drastically and will become affordable in the very near future. We got to be prepared. “Furthermore, a completely un-tapped unexplored Geothermal potential is there to be harnessed. It’s estimated around 1GW as potential,” Dr. Fernando said.

Lakmal has served in the Sustainable Energy Authority board as a member and has been the General Secretary of the Solar Industries Association from 2018 to 2022.