Govt’s goal unrealistic, needs billions of dollars – CEBEU
By Thameenah Razeek
The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) revealed that the Government’s objective of generating 70 per cent of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 is an unrealistic goal that will require a large number of money, which even the Government treasury lacks. The union urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to meet them, so that they can share their thoughts and recommendations on the Government’s projects.
Engineer Saumya Kumarawadu, President of CEBEU, stated at a Media briefing yesterday (28) in Colombo that achieving ‘net-zero carbon’ without jeopardising other fundamental priorities such as the well-being of the poor, sensitive and vital areas such as health and education, and other infrastructure development in the country requires a proper plan.
He stated that to reduce reliance on imported fuel for electricity and increasing the share of renewable energy, the Government will have to invest billions of dollars in special equipment such as transmission lines, batteries, and gas turbines to stabilise the frequency and voltage of the system during the initial period. Kumarawadu went on to say that at a time when the country’s foreign reserves are restricted, investing billions of dollars in a short period of time is impossible. He made these remarks in reference to the 2022- 2026 period.
He went on to say that information revealed that there are only five countries in the world that are not networked but have more than 50 per cent renewable energy as of today, with the percentage of variable renewable energy relative in all of them. Sri Lanka, he noted, is the only country in the developing world without links to other countries’ networks, but it still aims to generate 70 per cent or more renewable energy by 2030.
In conclusion, he stated that if the Ceylon Electricity Board is forced to implement 70 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030 it will suspend 950MW of thermal power plants in the existing authorised Long Term Generation Expansion Plan of 2018-2037 scheduled to be commissioned before 2030.