Environmentalists Keen On Renewable Energy ... Ready To Take Up With President Wickremesinghe
President Ranil Wickremesinghe is now expected to discuss environmental concerns with environmentalists and civic organisations, especially in light of the country being in a deep power crisis.
It is understood that the Presidential Secretariat is keen on having discussions on matters of concern especially on renewable energy.
Environmentalists and civic organisations last week urged President Wickremesinghe to take action against those being a stumble block for renewable energy development master action plan preparation process.
The team comprises of Hemantha Withanage, Senior Advisor, Centre for Environmental Justice, Jehan Canagaretne, President, Widlife and Nature Protection Society, Thilak Kariyawasam, Convener, FIAN Sri Lanka, Samantha Gunasekera, President, Lanka Nature Conservationists, S. Vishvalingam, Director, Sri Lanka Nature Group, Herman Kumara, National Convener- National Fisheries Solidarity, S.P. Liyanarachchi, President, Sri Lanka Climate and Forest Action Network,
Parakrama Jayasinghe renowned Electrical Engineer,
Sajeewa Chamikara, Movement for Land and Agriculture Reform and Ranjith Wickramasinghe, Organization of Environment and Children Rights.
They had also written to Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera, Country Director, Asian Development Bank Chen, and Secretary, Ministry of Power and Energy M P D U K Mapa Pathirana.
“As we all are aware, Sri Lanka is in a deep energy crisis. It is a well-known fact that Ceylon Electricity Board is responsible for discouraging Renewable energy in the last several years despite Sri Lanka’s stated target to achieve 80% renewable energy (RE) targets by 2030, Withanage said.
However, they said that they had noticed that CEB use its coal biased experts to undermine the harnessing of solar and other renewable energy potential in the Country.
The Board also discouraged the solar development by offering unviable very low tariff which will ensure no local entrepreneur would invest. Sri Lanka cannot afford to lose this moment because of the coal biased engineers and experts, these activists charged.
With the Electricity Act being changed recently, solar power would play a key role as it is one of the easiest options with a lesser feeding tariff.
Meanwhile officials also hinted that the proposals for the restructuring of the CEB is in the final stages. Once that hurdle is cleared their task would be much easier.
Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said there were some 12,000 religious places of worship that are getting electricity bills more than Rs. 3,990 of the total of 48,682.
Meanwhile, the concerned group said that they have learned that CEB has hired Dr. Thilak Siyambalapitiya who is a well-known coal power promoter in Sri Lanka for many decades, to produce the same. Therefore, we have a serious doubt about the
intent and outcome of this REDMAP process.
“Further we have learned that the CEB recently organized a closed-door consultation with some renewable energy developers at Hotel Renuka, without even inviting the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA) which is the agency responsible for renewable energy expansion in the country. We have learned that there is no coordination between the CEB,” the team added.