By Yohan Perera
Underscoring that the government would move ahead to construct three LNG power plants as planned, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday Sri Lanka should think of a renewable energy component in the future.
He said this addressing the World Renewable Energy Congress Summit held yesterday in Colombo.
“We are a country depended on water or hydraulic systems for more than a thousand years both for our existence and economy. We used to have systems to conserve water, but it is not the same today. Sri Lanka is a country that gave initiative to hydro-electricity and we depended on it till some ten years back. Unfortunately, we are demanded to shift owing to climate change and increase in demand for power. We have had our first coal power plant and now going for three LNG plants. There is also a need to increase renewable energy. This has been mired in controversy lately. I have always followed Germany as it kept augmenting the renewable energy component. In Germany, over one-third of the energy requirement is met by renewable energy. Moreover, we will have to decide on the percentage of our renewable energy component. How are we going to promote it? This has been neglected in Sri Lanka’s energy policy,” he said.
“As we took over, the government had to contend with many issues. We had to look at restoring democracy, fostering reconciliation and face a plethora of economic constraints as a result of debt and drop in revenue. This left the government agenda in full for about three to three and a half years. Today, we are in a phase to plan on issues such as climate change. I say with confidence, climate resilience will come to the forefront in the future. This is essential for a country like Sri Lanka. It is essential for the future generations. If we are to carry on, we should ensure climate is safe,” he said.
Regretting that the consensus reached at the Paris Climate Agreement did not exist, the premier said those who were committed to it would be a formidable force though countries such as USA did not agree to it.
“We thought the agreement had finally built global consensus in climate change. Unfortunately, it does not exist any longer. Many agree on it but the US doesn’t. This is the same issue we have with regard to world trade. We in Sri Lanka are aware of the adverse impact taking place and the need for renewable energy, planning and to have green cities. One of the first projects we launched after 2015 was megapolis. Look at Sri Lanka as the centre of the Indian Ocean, to build a big megapolis around it, to interconnect cities. This is what Minister Champika Ranawaka is entrusted with. However, the mega city will have to be a green concept. We do not want it to be another urban sprawl. The situation is same with Kandy,” he said.
Sri Lanka is a country that gave initiative to hydro-electricity and we depended on it till some ten years back. Unfortunately, we are demanded to shift owing to climate change and increase in demand for power