May 27, Colombo: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has called on experts in the power sector to assist in increasing the contribution of renewable energy sources in the national grid.
The government has set a target of generating 70% of the total electricity demand from renewable energy sources. At present, nearly 700 megawatts (MW) of electricity can be generated through the use of solar power.
However, the public opinion is that solar power is not being utilized to its maximum due to the opposition by engineers of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the President’s Media Division said in a statement.
The President however, said a practical contribution to the solution of the current power crisis can be made rectifying such matters.
The President made these observations at a discussion held at the President's House in Colombo yesterday (26) to look into the problems that exist in using renewable energy sources to power generation.
Pointing out that solar power generation has become a major strategy in many countries around the world, the President said following that trend, rooftop solar panels should be used as a quick solution to the current power crisis.
Additional General Manager (Transmission) of the Electricity Board P.W. Hendahewa pointed out that nearly 1000 MW of new power can be added depending on the existing capacity of the main power system.
It was revealed that a unit of electricity generated through petroleum fuel costs Rs.100 while a unit of electricity generated through coal costs more than Rs.50.
Using renewable energy instead could save more than $ 300 billion annually, said Damitha Kumarasinghe, Director General of the Public Utilities Commission.
Thermal power generation costs more than $ 100 million a month. Accordingly, it will be a difficult task to supply electricity at current prices Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that a large area of land could be saved by utilizing the roofs of government buildings including schools and hospitals to generate electricity from solar energy.
Secretary to the President Gamini Senarath, Chief of Staff to the President Anura Dissanayake, Secretaries to Ministries and Heads of Line Institutions were also present.