The recent withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill by the government will bring the development of the country's renewable energy power plants to a standstill, Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ravi Karunanayake told parliament today.
In a special statement in the House, he said no renewable power plant had been set up in Sri Lanka for the past five years and possibly in the future as well if the Electricity (Amendment) Bill is not amended.
The Minister said this lacuna in the Electricity (Amendment) Bill had resulted in 600 applications submitted by various investors to register renewable energy plants which they intend constructing getting stuck with the Sri Lanka Renewable Energy Authority.
He said the issue is that the Electricity (Amendment) Bill prevents the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) from purchasing power from small renewable energy power plants without tenders. “It is this procedure which has prevented the investors from getting their plants registered with the Renewable Energy Authority,” the Minister said.
“The Sri Lanka Electricity (Amendment) Bill No:31 of 2013 had allowed the CEB to purchase power from small power plants which generate no more than 10 mw without tenders. However, as a result of a legal issue, the Attorney General’s Department had suspended this provision in November 2013. The previous government in 2014 had brought another amendment to the Electricity (Amendment) Bill. The then AG had approved it at that point.
However, the present government after coming into power in 2015 had decided to develop the renewable energy sector to enable the purchase of power but the AG at that time had been of the opinion that power could be purchased from renewable plans only through tenders. Following this development, the present government had also brought an amendment to the Electricity (Amendment ) Bill in 2018.
There had been discussions among all stakeholders on the Bill. However, the AG’s representative who had participated in this discussion said the 19th Amendment to the Constitution prevents an amendment. This was again confirmed on August 6 2019.”
Mr. Karunanayake said he was amazed to see the statement made by some forces who had welcomed the withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)