Small and medium-sized industries will get state loans to pursue the development of non-conventional renewable energy sources, according to the new plan of the Power and Energy Ministry.
“(We will) establish a credit line for promotion of off-grid renewable energy applications for small and medium-scale industries such as ice making, refrigeration and cold rooms,” Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said recently.
He further added that following the establishment of independent power sources, the businesses would also be provided with net metering— to add excess energy to the national grid in return for compensation.
However, the government had just recently shown no interest in giving support to the cold storage industry.
Finlays (Colombo) PLC, which is the largest operator of cold storage facilities in the country, recently lost a long-standing law suit against the government, brought up due to the government’s failure to provide the industry with industrial rates on electricity.
Meanwhile, Finlays said that some clients, who were already benefitting from industrial rates, were either leaving or contemplating doing so to establish their own cold storage facilities, leading the company to explore renewable energy sources on their own.
While a large company such as Finlays could absorb losses in the short run till a solution is found, smaller operators in the industry may not have the same luxury.