Government Confident On Doubling Power Generation


Government is confident of accepting the challenge of doubling the power generation, while also focusing on a reasonable price structure to the electricity consumers and protecting environment is a major challenge, Minister of Power Dullas Alhaperuma said.

He added: “As a country facing energy challenges, the Sri Lankan education system needs to be innovative in the field of electricity technology. Yes, we as a country have a way forward only in the decisions that come after a proper scientific study of these matters, the stumbling block in our history is the separation of the public sector, the private sector, ” he said at the launch of Sri Lanka’s first MicroGrid pilot project in collaboration with the University of Moratuwa at the at the Kingsbury Hotel on Thursday night.

Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) together with the University of Moratuwa (UOM) launched a pioneering pilot project on Microgrid with a grant assistance of USD 1.8 million (nearly Rs. 325 million) from Asian Development Bank (ADB). DIMO, together with the German specialist DHYBRID, has been selected for the supply of comprehensive Renewable Energy Microgrid consisting of power generation and storage, a model which can be scaled up for uninterrupted power distribution for customers across the country.

Alahapperuma, addressed the distinguished gathering, he said: “The President has set a target of 70% of renewable and green electricity by 2030. In pursuit of this goal, two goals must be achieved, one of which is to double the current generation of electricity by 2023. Our other goal is not  to rely on diesel by 2023. The contribution of burning electricity to the economy should be kept to a minimum of less than  five per cent .MicroGrid technology, which is being introduced today, is making a significant contribution to the pursuit of these goals. In the matter of power and energy which is considered as a national challenge, several parties have come together today to overcome all differences and we as a country must accept this challenge.”

He also said in the political context, there are many arguments about devolution and devolution. “In politics it is a normal thing. However,  when it comes to  challenges in the e to energy sector, power-sharing, power-sharing, is without sure a doubt is the most effective methodology. “What is happening today is the best example of accepting national challenges. We have a number of considerations in the challenge of electricity. How do we provide electricity to the people at a reasonable price? How do we provide uninterrupted quality power supply? How do we protect the environment? In pursuit of these challenges, I hope that all parties today will use this precedent as a key guide in their future plans,” he stressed.

He also said Lanka Electricity (Pvt) Ltd., which brings about 10% of our power system to the consumers, is one of the partners in this microGrid project. The University of Moratuwa, which provides nearly 50% of our country’s national electrical engineering education, the Asian Development Bank, which has the highest cost of electricity, DIMO, which has a historic claim to innovation and technology in this country, and the German government’s Hybrid, an international giant, are all partners in this project.

“ All these parties are united today in an important national mission. On behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Power and Energy would like to pay tribute to all those who have dedicated and led the way in this technological innovation project, ” he added The Minister of Education Prof. G.S. L. Peiris, Wasantha Perera, Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, Ranjith Pandithage, Chairman, DIMO, Athula Priyadarshana de Silva, Attorney-at-Law, Chairman, Electricity Pvt, also addressed the gathering.

The pilot project contains a commercial Microgrid and R&D facility which will be used as a research platform for the studies in nature of renewable energy integration and smart grids. The data obtained from the commercial Microgrid as well as the equipment and simulation environment will facilitate these R&D functions towards meeting the predefined research targets. The UOM has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with LECO in establishing the “LECO Smartgrid Laboratory” and the facility will be maintained by LECO for the first 20 years “ADB has been a long-term partner in Sri Lanka’s energy sector development.  Our assistance in the clean energy, includes Sri Lanka’s first large scale 100MW wind park in Mannar, 30MW hydropower station in Moragolla and the solar rooftop credit line, among others.  Similarly, ADB has been supporting the strengthening of power evacuation from distributed renewable energy generation both at transmission and primary distribution level, in addition to its support for both supply side and demand side energy efficiency improvements.  ADB is always committed to supporting Sri Lanka’s inclusive energy sector development focussing on clean energy with new and innovative technologies and solutions”, said ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Dr. Chen Chen.

Acting General Manager of LECO Dr.Narendra De Silva said, “LECO is always dedicated to maintaining a safe and hassle free electricity supply to our customers around the clock on their demand.  This project, will be developed as a solution for power interruptions consumers face due to breakdowns as well as outages during maintenance activities. During such power failures, solar inverters also withdraw from the system by anti-islanding protection, driving even the customer who has sufficient power to power up their premises through their solar generation, go out of power.”
“Microgrids are identified as a solution for these problems where it can increase the hosting capacity of the distribution network and can feed the power to the network when the grid is not available, since the excess power can be stored while storage issues like reverse power flow and subsequent voltage issues are also expected to be mitigated. Through this pilot project, LECO will seek the possibility of replicating the concept for other transformers and similar premises, to improve power supply reliability and  the lessons learnt through this project will be shared internationally”, he further added. Furthermore, he highlighted the notable contribution and assistance from ADB and in particular, the strong support from Dr.Yongping Zhai, Chief of Energy Sector Group, Dr. Priyantha Wijayatunga, Director of South Asia Energy Division, Dr. Mukhtor Khamudkhanov, Dr. Aiming Zhou, and Ranishka Wimalasena, Dr.Tilak Siyambalapitiya and Upali Daranagama for formulating this novel concept.

Chairman  & Managing Director of DIMO, Ranjith Pandithage said, “As a company which plays a significant role in Power sector through Transmission and Distribution projects and Power Generation – mainly focusing on Renewable Energy, we are indeed privileged to work together on this historic project that will take local power supply to the next level. DIMO’s highly-qualified and experienced teams of engineers are assigned to execute this project while sharing the knowledge with our German partner DHYBRID. We believe that this project will help DIMO to enhance the expertise in developing the Microgrid concept in Sri Lanka. DIMO has also been contributing to the constructing of the utility grid of Sri Lanka for the past 50 years.”

Director of DIMO Wijith Pushpawela said: “Microgrid concept is experimented and utilized not only in Sri Lanka but all over the world and is recognized as the latest innovation in Power Generation and Distribution, as this will completely exclude the Power Transmission, giving financial benefits while also improving the quality of power. If this concept suits Sri Lanka, the country will look at establishing Microgrids in the long run to improve national power supply”.

Fabian Baretzky – Country Manager of DHYBRID commented, “We are honoured and proud to be a part of the exciting transition of the energy system in Sri Lanka together with our partner DIMO. We believe that LECO is pursuing an ambitious and an advanced approach to increase renewable energy penetration in the grid while at the same time enhancing the resilience of the grid. Together with DIMO, we plan to further support the transition of the country towards a more independent and greener energy system”. DHYBRID is a specialized international solution provider of renewable and hybrid energy systems for industries, utilities and islands. They combine conventional energy supply, such as diesel generators or unstable utility grids, with renewable energy systems and storage technology – perfectly controlled and comprehensively visualized.

This partnership of ADB, LECO and UOM with strong expertise and wide experience of implementing, together with DIMO and DHYBRID, would undoubtedly help Sri Lanka’s strong drive for clean energy development and in achieving the target of 70% of its power generation from clean energy sources by 2030.