The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved US $ 118.8 million in funding to help improve Sri Lanka’s electricity grid, which is under the threat of running into power shortages in the coming years.
The funding is broken down into a US $ 115 million loan and US $ 3.8 million grant, which is provided by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and the Clean Energy Fund.
“The project will help meet the needs of areas that have been missing out through upgrades to the medium voltage network, the rollout of over 2,300 kilometers of low voltage line extensions and the construction of hybrid renewable energy mini-grids,” ADB Principal Energy Specialist Mukhtor Khamudkhanov said.
While he lauded the government’s efforts so far in increasing the country’s electrification to 98 percent, he noted that the former war zones and small islands have unreliable and expensive power supplies.
The project will run for five years with an expected completion date in September 2021.
While the government’s aim is to achieve 100 percent electrification, both public and private sector experts have noted the pending power crisis since no major projects are in the pipeline for the next
Hybrid renewable energy systems using a combination of wind, solar and efficient diesel generation, along with the installation of energy-storing long life lithium-ion batteries will provide reliable electricity to the Analativu, Delft and Nainativu islands off Jaffna while a renewable energy micro-grid will also be installed in the Western Province, taking the load off the national grid.
The new wire installation will connect numerous houses to the grid, while the Japanese grant will be used to educate rural communities on usage of electrical equipment and to train them to repair the hybrid systems.
An ADB Vice President visiting Sri Lanka recently said that the bank is willing to help fund the construction of large-scale power projects to Sri Lanka over the next three years.