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* Sri Lanka can be an energy exporter if it can tap high potential for renewable energy – Eran Wickramaratne
Sun, Nov 27, 2022, 08:53 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 27, Colombo: As Sri Lanka’s energy capacity in Solar and Wind power have the potential for over 40,000 MW power generation, we can be an exporter of energy said Samagi jnana Balawegaya parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne.

Speaking on the Committee stage debate in Parliament on Saturday he said that Sri Lanka should go away from using the power generation for domestic production for domestic usage only policy.

“We need to look at energy as imports and exports products as well. Sri Lanka’s energy capacity particularly in renewable wind and solar power may be 40,000 MW or more just in the northern and the western coast lines even up to Puttalam and going on the eastern coast lines as well,” he pointed out.

“The potential this country has in renewable energy is unbelievable. Our problem like what we heard in the budget speech is more often we have big plans we have big ideas but nothing on the ground,” he said.

MP Eran Wickramaratne further said: “ President Ranil Wickremesinghe who was recently in attendance of the COP- 27 environment meeting in Egypt where I also happened to be there, said that the developing nations were not responsible for carbon emission. Sri Lanka is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 while 70 % of the electricity by renewable energy by 2030 and I was glad to hear the minister saying no new coal power plant will be established.”

“As of September 2022, our installed capacity of electricity 5022 MW which consists of 58 percent renewable energy and 42 percent fossil fuel. But out of the fossil fuel 18 % came from coal and 24 % from thermal oil. Hydro has the share of 28 % while other renewable energies such as solar, wind, mini hydro, bio mass gets about 30 percent. In terms of consumption, we have the required capacity.”

“The government more recently has come up with a report by a cabinet appointed committee on the reform in the power sector. The report mentioned about a reform embarked in 1990 had recognized the need to establish a transparent regulatory framework and to enact necessary legislation but was very slow. The objective was to operate the energy sector on sound commercial and business principles after identifying and removing constraints in the power sector.”

“This Cabinet appointed committee agreed with the power sector restructuring with creation of a non-monopolistic situation within the power sector. The roles of the government as owner, regulator and operator will be clearly defined and separated. We have sound policies with clear objectives but the processes are very slow in the public sector, therefore we should set realistic targets.”

The MP said that in absence of policy implementations the crises in the power sector have escalated affecting the industries due to power cuts causing negative growth in the GDP in a big way. As a result, now the cost of energy in Sri Lanka is too high for industries and that is one reason the country was not attracting foreign investment and FDI.

PUCSL was started in 2002 along with a restructuring proposal to gear up the power sector to promote competition and to facilitate private sector participation. The PUCSL is also in line with reforms sans implementation. He urged that the reform should create and enabling environment without allowing preferential treatment or advantage position of certain players relating to others in the market transforming the words of the report in to deeds early.

With regard to power sector reforms, we have clear policies we can have the ideals, but we must be clear that we must allow them to act independently and professionally. Recently there was a debate that an Adhani related company was given a transaction by the government He said that the opposition in Parliament was of the view that always there must be a fair play by way of competition in any project. Deals with barriers to entry for new market entrants be removed enabling a healthy competition in the economy.

Mr Wickramaratne urged that it is the responsibility of the policy makers to decide on reforms and there is no need for fear of the liberalization of the power sector in Sri Lanka, independent of Government to guard against the anti-competitive behavior of the industry.

 

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