Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said Sri Lanka’s per capita carbon emission stands at 1.2 Mt when that of the world is in excess of 5 Mt, forest cover is 30 per cent and green cover is 75 per cent of the landmass, but a target was set recently for increasing Renewable Energy to 70 per cent of the power generation by 2030.
Addressing the CERAWeek energy conference recently, the Minister said achieving this would require a combination of limiting the expansion of thermal power plants and integrating more Renewable Energy into the grid.
“So, on one hand, we have an economic case for producing domestic oil and gas and an increasing refining capacity to provide backward linkages to the marine fuel industry and leverage our strategic location in the region. On the other, we need to keep lowering on carbon emissions to meet our global obligations. This inevitably draws us to look for large-scale integrated energy projects with a mix of hydrocarbons and renewable energy such as offshore gas-to-wire solutions complemented by wind and floating solar along with waste-to-energy conversions," he underlined.
"One of my hopes from this august conference is to start discussions with suitable partners for the Government of Sri Lanka to work with all aspects of these opportunities and bring them to a reality,” he said.
He said , “Unlike most other nations, Sri Lanka’s power sector has been under a declining Renewable Energy integration trend ever since the massive droughts of 1996 dislocated our hitherto 100% hydropower generation base permanently by causing the introduction of thermal generation plants. With the growing energy needs of the country, thermal plant market share has expanded deep into the base partly because major hydro is now nearing capacity and Sri Lanka has been slow in tapping into our abundant natural resources,"
"Total Renewable Energy now accounts for only approximately 40% of power generated in Sri Lanka with a combination of coal and fuel oils making up the rest. We possess no coal reserves and are still awaiting the production of domestic oil and gas. Now looking at a different aspect let us consider our well-known strategic location. Sri Lanka straddles the world’s largest maritime trade route, leaving us well positioned to provide compliant bunker fuel for many passing vessels," the Minister said.
"We are also right in the geographical centre of South Asia - being the hub with approximately equidistant spokes to the UAE to the West, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh to the North, and Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia to the East. Hence, we intend to develop Sri Lanka as Energy Hub of Asia. Of our petroleum imports, 25% is in the form of crude oil and 75% in the form of products. We, therefore, clearly need to in-house as much of this value as possible by expanding our existing refinery and building at least one more if we are to fully leverage our regional,” he added.