Renewable energy meets over 50% of electricity needs

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CEB’s cheap and clean renewable energy (RE) powered by the South-West Monsoons met over 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs for 33 days in the calendar year to Monday (13 June), which has seen a total of 164 days for the calendar year thus far, CEB’s yesterday (14) data showed.

Meanwhile, in the balance 131 calendar days the year has seen to Monday, over 50 per cent of the island’s electricity needs were met by the dirty and expensive imported fossil fuels (FF). In related developments, of those 33 days where RE provided over 50 per cent of the country’s electricity needs, those 33 days were encapsulated in the 45 calendar days beginning on 10 May 2022 and ending on Monday (13 June), though, not necessarily on consecutive days.

In like developments, Monday’s (13) splits comprised 52.75 per cent RE and 47.25 per cent FF. Sri Lanka consumed a total of 39.26 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity on Monday, of which CEB RE comprised 20.71 GWh and CEB coal (FF)-18.55 GWh. The splits of CEB RE comprised, CEB Hydro (15.94 GWh) or 85.93 per cent of CEB’s total RE, while the balance CEB RE comprised electricity purchased from the  private sector (PS) mini-hydro suppliers (1.59 GWh), ‘CEB Wind’ and ‘PS  Wind’ (1.3 GWh each), ‘PS Solar’ (0.32 GWh) and ‘PS Biomass’ (0.26 GWh).

According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s 2021 Annual Report, the cheapest source of electricity generation to the CEB last year was ‘hydro,’ costing Rs 1.67 a unit or one kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity, followed by coal (Rs 10.87), non-conventional RE such as wind, biomass and solar (Rs 18.99), ‘CEB diesel’ (Rs 29.01) and ‘PS Diesel’ (Rs 30.35). Meanwhile, ‘CEB Hydro’ was led by ‘Mahaweli’ comprising the Victoria, Randenigala, Rantambe, Kotmale, and Upper Kotmale hydroelectric power projects. Victoria, Randenigala, Rantambe, and Kotmale were built during the J.R. Jayewardene era, after obtaining grant and/or concessional aid from the West, while Upper Kotmale, conceptualised during the Jayewardene era, was built during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era after obtaining concessional aid from Japan, data showed. 

By Paneetha Ameresekere