RE provides over 50% electricity

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Electricity generated by cheap and non-pollutive renewable energy (RE) surpassed 50 per cent after a week’s lapse on 25 June, Ceylon Electricity Board’s yesterday’s (Sunday, 26 June) data showed.

In the intervening days, more than 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs were provided by the imported and pollutive coal and diesel (C&D).

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Sri Lanka consumed 39.4 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity energy, of which 20.07 GWh (50.94 per cent) was provided by RE and the balance 19.33 GWh (49.06 per cent) by C&D.

Saturday’s RE’s breakdown comprised CEB Hydro (14.30 GWh), CEB Wind (1.43 GWh), private sector (PS) solar and biomass (0.27 GWh each), PS mini hydro and wind, 1.62 and 2.18 GWh each.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s C&D breakdown comprised CEB C&D, 11.62 and 4.6 GWh each and PS diesel (3.11 GWh).

CEB’s hydro breakdown of Saturday’s comprised Mahaweli (6.08 GWh), Laxapana (5.66 GWh) and Samanalawewa (that is, both Samanalawewa and Kukule Ganga hydroelectric power project (HEPP) together), 2.56 GWh.

Mahaweli comprises Victoria, Randenigala, Rantambe, Kotmale, and Upper Kotmale HEPP projects. Victoria, Randenigala, Rantambe, and Kotmale HEPPs were built during the J.R. Jayewardene era, after obtaining grants and/or concessional aid from the West. Upper Kotmale, conceptualised during the Jayewardene era was built during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era after obtaining concessional Japanese aid. Samanalawewa, conceptualised during the Jayewardene era, was built during the Ranasinghe Premadasa era after obtaining concessional aid from Japan and Kukule Ganga, conceptualised during the Premadasa era, was built during the Chandrika Bandaranaike era, after obtaining concessional aid from Japan.

Laxapana, built during the D.S. Senanayake era with Sri Lanka’s own funding was subsequently extended after obtaining concessional World Bank aid. In related developments, prior to Saturday, the last time RE provided more than 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs was last Saturday (18 June), with the figure being 51.71 per cent.

According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s 2021 Annual Report, the cheapest source of electricity generation to the CEB last year was ‘CEB hydro,’ costing a mere Rs 1.67 a unit or one kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity, followed by coal (Rs 10.87), non conventional RE such as mini-hydro, wind-both CEB and the private sector (PS), biomass and solar (Rs 18.99), ‘CEB diesel’ (Rs 29.01) and ‘PS Diesel’ (Rs 30.35).

By Paneetha Ameresekere