RE provides over 50% electricity needs

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Cheap and clean renewable energy (RE) provided over 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s daily electricity needs in 33 (50 per cent) out of the 66 days to Saturday (13 August), Ceylon Electricity Board data from yesterday (14) showed.

In the balance 32 (48.48 per cent) of the remaining 33 days, over 50 per cent of the island’s daily electricity needs were met by the pollutive and imported fossil fuels (FFs) comprising coal and diesel, and in the other single day (3.03 per cent) splits were evenly (50:50) shared between FFs and RE, respectively.

Consequently, RE led by ‘CEB Hydro’ provided over 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity demand for 14 consecutive days to Saturday (13 August), CEB statistics further showed.The last time, a period longer than this, where RE was the dominant player in Sri Lanka’s electricity sector for a consecutive number of days took place 66 days ago, where, for 30 consecutive days from 10 May to 8 June 2022, over 50 per cent of the island’s electricity needs were met by RE led by ‘CEB Hydro.’

Meanwhile, in the 225 days that have transpired in the year to Saturday, RE was responsible for providing 50 per cent or over of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs in only 64 (28.44 per cent) days and FFs in the balance 161 (71.56 per cent) days, respectively.

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 per one kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity followed by Coal (Rs 10.87), nonconventional RE such as Mini-Hydro, Wind-both CEB and PS, Biomass and Solar (Rs 18.99), ‘CEB Diesel’ (Rs 29.01) and ‘PS Diesel’ (Rs 30.35), respectively.

In related developments, of the total electricity supplied by the CEB to consumers in Sri Lanka on Saturday which was 38.53 gigawatt hours (GWh), FFs share was 12.58 GWh (32.65 per cent) and RE’s share was 25.95 GWh (67.35 per cent) respectively.

Saturday’s FFs breakdown comprised CEB Coal 12.56 GWh and CEB Diesel 0.02 GWh, respectively. Saturday’s RE breakdown comprised CEB Hydro 22.35 GWh, equivalent to 58.40 per cent of total RE generated on that day, followed by Private Sector (PS) Mini-Hydro 1.26 GWh,CEB Wind 1.06 GWh, PS Wind 0.69 GWh, PS Solar 0.32 GWh, and PS Biomass 0.27 GWh, respectively.

‘CEB’s Hydro’ breakdown of Saturday comprised Mahaweli 12.82 GWh, equivalent to 57.36 per cent of total ‘CEB Hydro,’ Laxapana 7.38 GWh (33.02 per cent), and Samanalawewa (that is, both Samanalawewa and Kukule Ganga hydroelectric power projects together), 2.15 GWh (9.62 per cent),respectively.

However, Sri Lanka’s sole coal electricity generator, the 900 mW Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, is generallyonly partially operative for several days, forcing the Government of Sri Lanka/CEB to be over-reliant on the expensive diesel to meet a large size of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs on most days.

By Paneetha Ameresekere