By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Sri Lanka is to enter a new field of power generation using geo-thermal power within the next few decades as studies conducted so far have been encouraging, energy experts said yesterday.
Preliminary studies conducted by a Sri Lankan specialist Morell Fonseka have identified nine sites with possible development for geo- thermal power generation.
He added that if successful, geo-thermal power could replace the costly thermal power which would benefit the country immensely.
Meanwhile, Institute of Fundamental Studies Director Prof. C. B. Dissanayaka said geo-thermal power was a sustainable green energy source that can be utilized for power generation.
“It is clean and sustainable and can become a blessing for a country like Sri Lanka if properly developed,” Prof. Dissanayaka said.
Normally, heat under the ground is much lower in countries formed with much old composition of minerals like in Sri Lanka. But several earth formations in Sri Lanka, a 350 kilometre stretch from Trincomalee to Ussangoda in Hambantota, Polonnaruwa, Udawalawa, Galwewa, Mahalelessa and Monaragala possess ample ground heat or geo –thermal power resources that can be utilized for power generation, Prof. Dissannayaka pointed out.
Prof. Dissanayaka added that several studies have been conducted on geo-thermal power at identified sites and its exploitation as a power resource with the assistance of specialists from Canada and England and the results have been encouraging. A final report is expected in mid- The sites where studies were conducted carry different temperatures. The attention has now been directed to identify those with high geothermal heat with potential to generate electricity, he said.
Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) Chairman Keerthi Dissanayaka said the SEA has a preliminary report prepared following several pilot projects conducted on the identified sites of geo-thermal power.
“We continue to conduct further studies and come up with a comprehensive report on this subject which will give a clear picture on the feasibility of making geo-thermal power a sustainable resource for energy,” he said.
Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said this was completely a new field of power generation that required modern technology and research.
“New Zealand and Iceland have made progress in this technology and we also have to conduct extensive studies before putting the know how into active power generation using thermal power as a source. The plus point is that possibilities are there for geo-thermal power generation in Sri Lanka,” Minister Ranawaka stressed.