Clean Electricity Provides Over 50% Energy Requirements

BY PANEETHA AMERESEKERE | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 21 2021
News Clean Electricity Provides Over 50% Energy Requirements

BY PANEETHA AMERESEKERE 

Sri Lanka’s low cost and environmentally-friendly clean electricity led by ‘CEB hydroelectricity’ generation, powered by the rains, provided over 50 per cent of the island’s electricity requirements for 15 consecutive days to Tuesday (19) and beginning from 5 October after a lapse of 113 days, CEB data of yesterday’s (20) showed. Clean electricity led by hydro and followed by wind, solar and biomass (municipal waste or ‘garbage electricity’) provided 57.01 per cent (23.32 GWh) of all of Sri Lanka’s total electricity consumption of 43.98 GWh on Tuesday alone, while the balance was provided by the dirty and more expensive imported fossil fuels, 17.59 GWh (42.99 per cent). 

Fossil fuels comprise coal and oil led by diesel. In the interim 99-day period from 29 June to 4 October, the island’s electricity supply was largely dominated by fossil fuels. Hydroelectricity is mainly dominated by ‘CEB Hydro,’ which, on Tuesday alone was responsible for supplying 45.25 per cent (18.51 GWh) of all of Sri Lanka’s electricity requirements on that day. According to CBSL’s 2020 Annual Report, the cost of producing one unit (one kilowatt hour) of CEB hydroelectricity last year was a mere Rs 2.32. However, the production of CEB thermal coal electricity (coal) was more than four times that cost at Rs 9.81 a unit, CEB thermal oil electricity (CEB oil), 13 times the cost of CEB hydroelectricity at Rs 29.94 a unit, private sector oil more than 12.01 times the cost of CEB hydro at Rs 27.87 a unit and private sector hydro and waste electricity at 7.56 times that cost at Rs 17.55 a unit. 

According to the then Power Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, the cost of producing one unit of wind electricity is Rs 8. Currently, the chief sources of clean CEB hydroelectricity include the Mahaweli Hydroelectric Power Project (HEPP) the leader, followed by Laxapana, Kukule Ganga and Samanala Wewa. The Mahaweli HEPP Complex comprises, Victoria, Kotmale, Randenigala, Rantambe and Upper Kotmale hydroelectricity reservoirs, respectively. Victoria, Kotmale, Randenigala and Rantambe were built during the J.R. Jayewardene era after obtaining grant aid from the UK, Sweden and the then West Germany (both Randenigala and Rantambe), respectively.

Upper Kotmale hydroelectricity reservoir conceptualised during the Jayewardene era was built during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era after obtaining a soft loan from Japan. Laxapana was built with Treasury funds during the D.S. Senanayake era and subsequently expanded after obtaining a World Bank soft loan. Kukule Ganga, conceptualised during the Ranasinghe Premadasa era was built during the Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga era after obtaining a soft loan from Japan and Samanala Wewa, conceptualised during the Jayewardene era, was built during the Premadasa era, also after obtaining a soft loan from Japan. CEB’s definition of a day is the 24 hours ended at 6:00 a.m. on a calendar day.

BY PANEETHA AMERESEKERE | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 21 2021

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