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Policy & Politics

Published on February 25th, 2016 | by Saurabh Mahapatra


Sri Lanka Targets 100% Renewable Energy Share By 2030

February 25th, 2016 by  

Sri Lanka has given indications it intends to significantly increase the share of renewable energy in its electricity generation by the end of the next decade.

Secretary to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs recently told media outlets that his government is considering increasing the share of renewable energy in electricity generation to 100% by 2030. The new consideration by the Sri Lankan Government represents a significant increase over the recently stated plans of the countries electricity utility.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) proposed the Long-term Generation Expansion Plan 2015-2034. Sri Lanka’s installed power generation capacity at the end of 2014 was 3.9 GW, of which 11%, or 442 MW, is based on renewable energy capacity. Renewable capacity is dominated by mini-hydro power technology, which contributes 293 MW capacity, while wind energy technology represents 124 MW capacity. 

The CEB plans to increase the renewable energy capacity to 972 MW by 2020, which would contribute 20% to the total power generation in the country. Renewable energy’s share in power generation is currently expected to peak in 2025 at 21.4% with an installed capacity of 1,367 MW.

As part of the Long-term Generation Expansion Plan, installed renewable energy capacity in 2034 is expected to reach 1,897 MW, with wind energy being the dominant technology. Wind energy is expected to overtake mini hydro in terms of installed capacity by 2023. Installed capacity targets for the four renewable energy technologies projected by the CEB are mini-hydro: 673 MW; wind energy: 719 MW; biomass-based power: 279 MW; and solar power: 226 MW.

The Public Utilities Commission had criticised the Long-term Generation Expansion Plan proposed by the CEB, claiming that it did not focus much on the promotion of renewable energy technologies.

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About the Author

A young solar enthusiast from India keeping an eye on all regulatory, policy and market updates from one of the fastest emerging solar power markets in the world.

  • Matt

    ” is considering increasing the share of renewable energy in electricity generation to 100% by 2030″
    Headline foul!!! There is energy and there is electricity, please use the correct term. If you have even been to this web site you know it matters and people care.
    I will give you a free ride on “targets” verse “is considering” which is also not even close to the same thing.
    Zak, you need to add a time out policy 😉

  • Kevin McKinney

    Never mind the coal station, what exactly is going to happen with renewables? The “government” (which part?) is “considering” 100% renewable by 2030. But the current plan per the CEB is to “peak” RE at just over 21% in 2025, which is said to be the result of reaching capacity of 1,367 MW.

    OK–until you read that “installed renewable energy capacity in 2034 is expected to reach 1,897 MW”. Hmm, so much for that ‘peak’ mentioned earlier–except that there’s no mention of what *percentage* of the total capacity that is to represent. So presumably the plan is to *expand* non-RE more than RE post 2025, causing the RE share to drop.

    On top of which the PUC apparently wants the CEB to be greener. (I say, “Bless the PUC.”)

    Not a very clear situation.

  • Jamset

    So what is going to happen to their polluting coal power station

    • Ross

      The coal seems to be imported.

      • Jamset

        You did not answer the dilemma.

        • Ross

          What is your solution?

          • Jamset

            To have a military coup, shut it down and then switch back to a civilian government.

          • Ross


    • parag

      may be they will decommission it. Don’t know if they plants are new or old.

      • Ross

        It looks like it is a newish plant.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Because it is very difficult, indeed impossible, to have 100% renewable electricity when getting electricity from a coal power station, I imagine they would close down their coal power station.

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      • Jamset

        So will they outlaw it?

        If it is government owned, then they can shut it down today.

        • Ronald Brakels

          You’ll have to ask them what they intend to do.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Mind you, when we wanted to reduce the amount of coal we burned we introduced a carbon price. And then when we decided we wanted to drown more people in Sri Lanka, we got rid of it again.

          • Jamset

            They intend to go fully renewable.

        • Larmion

          It is owned by the Ceylon Electricity Board, as are all large power stations (both renewable and non-renewable). CEB is owned by a mother holding which is itself state-owned, so it is indirectly government owned.

          However, the power station is very recent: it only came online in 2011. Also, a second coal-fired power station is currently under construction (with an explicit government pledge that it would be the last ever large fossil fueled power station to come online).

          It seems that Sri Lanka is going to close down small, relatively inefficient oil and gas fired power stations first and keep the two large and relatively efficient coal fired ones open till the very last minute (likely the late 2020’s or even slightly longer).

          A pretty sensible strategy, that.

          • Jamset

            Good research by you.

            But coal is a lot more sooty than an LNG power station.

          • Larmion

            A natural gas fired power station is a lot cleaner than a coal fired one of similar age and design.

            However, there are no large NG fired power stations in Sri Lanka. The vast majority of thermal power comes from large coal plants or small (and often old) fuel oil or naptha fired power stations. I believe there is also some LPG in use, but there is no LPG terminal to the best of my knowledge.

            A modern, centralized power station with decent emission controls tends to be preferable over an old clunker, even if the former runs on dirtier fuel than the latter.

          • Calamity_Jean

            I can see keeping the existing coal power station going, but building a new one with the intention of shutting it down permanently only about halfway through its design life seems wasteful to me. Depending on how far along the second plant’s construction is, it might be smarter to just cancel it incomplete and stop throwing good money after bad.

            Does Sri Lanka have coal mines, or is the coal imported?

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