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Withdrawing Electricity (Amendment) Bill detrimental to renewables: Ravi K


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The withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill will prevent the renewable energy sector from developing, and increase the country’s dependence on costly and environmentally damaging sources to fulfil its growing energy

Energy and Business Development Minister 

Ravi Karunanayake

demand, warned Power, Energy and Business Development Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday in Parliament.

Minister Karunanayake, explaining the necessity of renewable energy, held the laws have prevented the construction of renewable energy plants in Sri Lanka during the last five years and will continue to do so unless the Bill is passed in Parliament to bring in favourable amendments. 

“There are over 600 applications pending approval to establish renewable energy power plants in the country. Sri Lanka’s Sustainable Energy Authority is unable to reject them but registers the applicant with a fee. But due to limitations in provisions, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is unable to purchase the power generated from these licences,” he explained.

Currently, the CEB purchases 394MW from 190 small hydro-power turbines, 126MW from windmills, 26MW from dendro-powered plants, and another 260MW from rooftop solar panels to meet a part of the electricity demand in the country. 

“Sri Lanka Electricity (Amendment) Bill No. 31 of 2013 had made provisions for the CEB to purchase power from the small plants, which generate not more than 10MW without tenders. But due to a legal issue, the Attorney General had suspended this provision in November 2013. The previous government in 2014 had brought another amendment, which received the approval from the Attorney General. The present government after coming into power in 2015 had decided to develop renewable energy sector to enable the purchase of power but the Attorney General at that time had been of the opinion that power could be purchased from renewable plants only through tenders,” he said.

Minister Karunanayake said he found it amazing to see the voices for promoting renewable energy generation being pleased with the withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, which curtails the new methods such as small power plants that use sea waves and garbage. (AH)

 


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