Business Times

Sri Lanka promotes renewable energy to face the depletion of fossil fuel

By Bandula Sirimanna

Based on current projections, within something like 75 years, the world will have used up all the world’s extractable coal, all extractable oil, all natural gas, and all uranium.

In order to face this crisis situation Sri Lanka is actively promoting, non traditional renewable energy sources like Solar power, Wind energy, Bio mass and Nuclear energy, said the Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka outlining the country’s power situation at a function in Colombo last week.

He noted that the long-term objective of the ministry is to use non traditional renewable energy sources with a view of making considerable contribution to the national grid with the electricity generated from these sources by 2015. The contribution of non-conventional renewable energy sources to the national grid has been increased from 5.5 % in 2009 to 6.8 % last year.

The Minister expressed the belief that the non-conventional renewable energy sector will be able to make a 10 %contribution to the national grid by the end of 2015. The ministry will launch 38 bio mass projects to generate electricity using solid waste in Colombo city and suburbs adding 259 MW to the national grid. It will also help tackle the garbage disposal problem and prevent environmental pollution in these areas, he said.

Explaining the financial position of Sri Lanka's state-run power utility, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the Minister disclosed that the CEB will continuously make profits from 2014. In 2011 CEB is expected to earn revenues of Rs. 130 billion with the new tariffs bringing in Rs. 4.5 billion more, he added .

Though total expenses are projected at Rs. 158 billion rupees, the CEB expects to make savings of about Rs 8 billion, bringing expenses to Rs 150.5 billion, he said. The operational loss is expected to rise to Rs. 20.5 billion but other income of Rs. 4.5 billion will reduce the total loss to Rs. 16.03 billion, he revealed.

Mr Ranawaka disclosed that during 2010 the CEB made Rs. 3.9 billion as profit before tax, ending nine years of continuous loss making amounting to Rs. 116 billion. The CEB had sold electricity amounting to Rs. 120.5 billion in 2010 but it was only able to collect revenue of Rs. 118.1 billion as the cost of street lighting has not been borne by local authorities or the Treasury, he said.

There are 700,000 street lights, he said. However with 'other revenues' the entity has made a total revenue of Rs. 125.54 billion.The CEB is holding Rs. 322 billion as long term debts. The entity is currently not repaying those debts owing to lack of finances to do so. Mr Ranawaka said, adding: “Starting from 2014 we will start repaying those debts”.

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