Sunday, March 3, 2024

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1000MW renewable energy adds to national grid this year with USAID 

 The Energy Ministry will take immediate steps to install at least 1000 MW of renewable energy capacity adding it to the national grid this year in order to ensure uninterrupted power supply, Power Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said.

She made this disclosure in the wake of a directive Issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to make arrangements to generate 5,000 MW via renewable energy sources and add them to the national grid within next six years.

Addressing an event at the commencement of the construction work of the Cardiology Unit at the Ratnapura Teaching Hospital, she said that we should work together with the Indian government to build the 900 MW Sampur Power Plant and prepare a tender document, but it was not executed. 

“If the rain does not come, the electricity cannot be generated to meet the needs of the country. This is a big issue. I am presenting a Cabinet paper as per the President’s instructions to strengthen the national power grid with renewable energy, “the Minister said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has given directives to make arrangements to generate 5,000 MW via renewable energy sources and add them to the national grid within next six years, Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando says.

As a part of the new programme, the approval of the cabinet sub-committee has been given to India’s Adani Group to invest US$ 500 million in developing renewable energy projects in Sri Lanka, Minister Fernando said, adding that the Indian company is expected to invest in several more similar projects here.

The minister, who is also the chairman of the cabinet sub-committee to expedite renewable energy projects, also stated that the government has decided not to delay any foreign directed investments and is also determined to act severely against those who delay them.

The country’s energy requirement is increased annually by 5 to 8 per cent owing to new development projects, construction of more houses and new factories. The government is of the view to cover the increased demand making use of electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

Minister Fernando said that the focus of the cabinet sub-committee is centered on selecting suitable investors from those who had expressed their willingness to invest in identified renewable energy projects.

It will be identifying new projects with higher feasibility, taking actions to reform laws and regulations in an expedite manner to remove existing legal and other barriers, upgrading the facilities used for adding the power generated from renewable energy sources to the national grid.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced its new $19 million, 5-year Sri Lanka Energy Program. Once finalized, this grant will support the Government of Sri Lanka’s vision to increase the generation of renewable energy to 70% by the year 2030.

It will contribute to the transformation of Sri Lanka’s power sector into a market-based, secure, dependable, and long-term system.

“Government coordination, community engagement, and private sector participation are key to expanding the generation of renewable energy,” said USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman. “We are excited to partner with Sri Lanka as it prioritizes renewable energy to fuel its economic and social development.”

This is one component of the longstanding partnership between the American and Sri Lankan people to support Sri Lanka’s development journey and promote economic development. USAID’s program in Sri Lanka, totaling more than Rs 350 billion ($2 billion) since 1961, promotes a healthy, educated, and employed population. 

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