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Sri Lanka

Official Name:
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
K. N. Kumudini Vidyalankara
Director, Climate Change Secretariat

Energy profile

Sri Lanka (2012)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

Population Access to Electricity (2010): 88%Substantial disparities in access to electricity still exist across the provinces, particularly in Northern and Eastern provinces where the conflict severely damaged the distribution network and prevented new rural electrification programs . 

Renewable energy potential

Hydropower Due to the geographical configuration of the country, having a rain-fed central hill zone, Sri Lanka enjoys good hydropower potential. The country has used this resource for the conveyance of irrigation water for many millennia, and for electricity generation during the last two centuries. The early days of grid electricity generation saw hydropower as the major component, accounting for more than 90% of the total. Recently, this component has been reduced to 35%, mainly due to the exponential load growth, which cannot be met by this limited resource. However, a significant portion of small hydropower potential remains to be developed. Potential sites have capacities ranging from a few hundred kW to 40 MW, and total potential is estimated around 2,000 MW. Wind EnergySri Lanka has significant wind data. The Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA) partners are the National Engineering Research and Development (NERD) Centre, and the Ceylon Electricity Board. The SWERA assessment, conducted under the auspices of the UNEP, found a wind electricity potential of about 26,000 MW, excluding offshore potential. This represents more than ten times the 1,800 MW of the country’s installed electricity capacity in 2002 . Senok Wind Power, a private enterprise, constructed the first wind plant, which commenced operation in 2010. The eight-turbine plant has a rated capacity of 30 MW.Solar Energy Ample solar resources exist throughout the year for virtually all locations for PV applications, such as solar home systems and remote power applications. The annual insolation assessment results, which range from 4.5 to 6.0 kWh/m2/day on average, are consistent with, and slightly higher than, earlier studies which gave results of 4.2 to 5.6 kWh/m2/day. The variability in global horizontal solar resources is relatively small across most of the country, despite the impact of terrain characteristics on cloud formation. The resource generally varies spatially at most 20% to 30% during any given season. The highest resources are in the northern and southern regions, and the lowest resources in the interior hill region. Current utilisation of solar energy primarily consists of rural electrification solutions.Biomass Energy Biomass is the most common source of energy supply in the country, with the majority usage in the domestic sector for cooking purposes. Due to the abundant availability, only a limited portion of total biomass usage is channeled through a market, and hence the value of the biomass energy is not properly accounted. The most common forms of biomass in Sri Lanka are fuel wood, municipal waste, industrial waste and agricultural waste.  The potential in biomass is assumed to be substantial but the exact statistics remain unknown.  Therefore, it is necessary to assess the types of biomass resources, their quantities, and points of origin on an island wide basis. It is also necessary to delineate a supply chain for biomass, establish retail centres and identify storage options.Geothermal EnergySri Lanka lies in a geothermal hot spring belt so there is potential for geothermal energy.  Traditional use is the main source of exploitation so far, so further assessment is required of the power generation potential. 

Energy framework

National Energy Policy and Strategies of Sri Lanka The increased penetration of indigenous resources, reduced consumption of fossil fuels, and diversification into cheaper fuels are the few options available to Sri Lanka. To address these issues, the National Energy Policy and Strategies (NEPS) in 2006 identified the development of renewable energy sources, and demand-side energy efficiency improvements, as major strategic pillars. A 10-year development plan to implement the NEPS aims to:increase the percentage of households electrified through off-grid supply from 4% at present to 10% by 2016,increase the share of unconventional renewable energy in on-grid power supply from 4.1% at present to 10.7% by 2016,add 500 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2016,introduce labelling of appliances for energy efficiency by 2010, andupdate and make mandatory energy-efficient building codes by 2009.The Government’s strategies updated in 2010 aim to :(increase supply capacity of the system to 3,470 MW by 2012 and 6,367 MW by 2020 and reduce the generation cost by adding aggregate base load capacity of about 2,000 MW of three coal-fired plants;increase the share in grid energy supply from nonconventional renewable energy sources from 4.1% in 2007 to 8.5% by 2012, 10.0% by 2016, and 20.0% by 2020;increase the percentage of households connected to the grid from 88.0% in 2010 to 100% by 2012;reduce the total technical and commercial losses of the transmission and distribution network from 14.6% in 2009 to 14.0% by 2012, 13.0% by 2016, and 12.0% by 2020; andachieve energy savings of 4.3% in 2012, 6.4% in 2016, and 8.7% in 2020 from a potential consumption level through energy conservation. Renewable Energy for Rural Economic Development (RERED)With the support of the World Bank, this project has financed installation of 74,000 solar power systems in Sri Lanka, providing electricity to 3,200 households. Access to electricity has increased to 38%, from 30% in 2002. It aims at improving the quality of rural life, by utilising off-grid RE technologies, to provide electricity in remote areas, and promote private sector power generation from RE resources for the main grid. The key components of the project are:1) grid-connected RE power generation by enabling, on a large scale, refinancing support for mini-hydro projects, and extending support to two other commercially available RE sources, wind and biomass;2) solar PV investments, by integrating refinance, grants, and technical assistance (TA) support for the existing middle-range solar home system market, and expanding to smaller systems accessible to the poor, and community applications for health clinics, schools, and public services;3) independent grid systems, which will support the commercialisation of village hydropower, and other community-based independent grid systems, through refinancing, and grant support;4) TA and credit support to private sector development in EE services, and demand side management measures, including the integration of such programs into sector reforms;5) cross-sectoral energy applications, i.e., the provision of credit support to rural enterprises, TA to service institutions for energy development, and co-financing support for investments in selected areas; and,6) TA (in addition to the component-specific assistance) for project administration, sub-project promotion, technology and capacity building, and monitoring and evaluation.Clean Energy and Access Improvement Project (formerly the Sustainable Power Sector Development Project) Supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), this project aims to increase transmission and distribution capacity and affordable and reliable power supply by utilising clean energy resources. Its main outcomes are:(i) enhanced transmission grid reliability to avoid system collapse and reduce losses; and(ii) the removal of grid constraints to facilitate the use of 200MW capacity from small hydropower plants and future clean energy projects. 

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