Hydropower takes lead

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Sri Lanka’s cheap and clean hydroelectricity, powered by the South-West Monsoon, led the renewable energy (RE) drive by providing over 50 per cent of the island’s total electricity needs for the sixth consecutive day to 15 May, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) data of 16 May showed.

The last time this phenomenon took place was five months ago, where for 72 consecutive days, to 15 December 2021, hydroelectricity powered by the North-East Monsoon provided over 50 per cent of the island’s electricity needs.

Sunday’s total electricity consumption was 32.36 giga Watt hours (gWh) of which RE was 22.31 gWh, while the balance was met by the dirty and more expensive imported coal and oil. Of Sunday’s RE’s 22.31 gWh electricity, 68.98 per cent (15.39 gWh) was provided by CEB hydro, led by ‘Mahaweli’, while the balance was provided by other cheap and clean electricity sources like ‘wind’ and private sector-led ‘mini hydros’.  Meanwhile, ‘Mahaweli’ comprises Victoria, Kotmale, Randenigala, Rantanbe and the Upper Kotmale hydroelectric reservoirs, respectively. Victoria, Kotmale, Randenigala and Rantanbe were built during President J.R. Jayewardene’s tenure (1977-1988) after obtaining grant and/or concessional aid from the UK, Sweden and the then West Germany, while Upper Kotmale, though conceptualised during the Jayewardene era was implemented during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era (2005- 8 January 2015) after obtaining concessional aid from Japan.

By Paneetha Ameresekere