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Sri Lanka to harness offshore wind power via private sector investments

By: Staff Writer

February 22, Colombo (LNW): With a clear opportunity mapped ahead, Sri Lanka’s coastal waters emerge as a formidable canvas for offshore wind deployment.

The World Bank estimates a capacity of up to 56 gigawatts (GW) within the nation’s maritime borders—a figure that could potentially satiate nearly half of the country’s current electricity demand.

The potential to reshape Sri Lanka’s energy landscape beckons, offering both economic and environmental dividends.

Cabinet nod to increase contribution of large-scale renewable energy projects Feasibility study by World Bank identifies North, West and South-East regions as prime locations

Sri Lanka is poised to develop the country’s offshore wind potential in stages through private sector investments, with the goal of achieving economies of scale.

Following a comprehensive feasibility study conducted by World Bank consultants, the Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting on Monday approved increasing the contribution of large-scale renewable energy in Sri Lanka.

The study identified the North, West and South-East regions of the country as prime locations with high potential for generating electricity through large-scale offshore wind power plants.

“The decision marks a significant step forward in Sri Lanka’s efforts to diversify its energy sources and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

 By tapping into offshore wind power, the country aims to enhance its renewable energy capacity and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change,” the Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at the post Cabinet meeting media briefing yesterday.

He said the decision to pursue offshore wind power aligns with Sri Lanka’s broader commitment to transitioning towards a greener and more sustainable energy sector.

The proposal to this effect submitted by the Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

The financial equation is further complicated as offshore wind projects, in general, bear a steeper cost compared to their onshore counterparts. 

The complexity of offshore infrastructure, including the need for substations and transmission lines, escalates expenses.

The World Bank emerges as a lighthouse in these uncharted waters, offering a roadmap that charts the path for Sri Lanka’s offshore wind odyssey. 

This blueprint underscores key strategic maneuvers required to birth a flourishing offshore wind industry.

Central to this vision is the recommendation for active Government participation, with a comprehensive role in the planning and execution of offshore wind projects. 

Encompassing financial support, regulatory clarity, and environmental permissions, this proactive approach seeks to bolster investor confidence and streamline project delivery.

The Government has already embarked on some pioneering steps, exemplified by the 2021 launch of a tender for a 100 MW offshore wind project—a venture poised for completion by 2025.

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