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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lanka adopts strategies to ensure energy security

Daily News: 13/10/2005" BY HIRAN H. Senewiratne

SRI LANKA'S economic and social development is extensively dependent on the provision of energy services. Continuous supply of these energy services is heavily linked to ensuring energy security both in the short term as well as in the medium to long term, Director General, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Prof. Priyantha Wijayatunga said.

"Energy security comes in two distinct forms that deals with securing the continuity of supply at all times and the other involves with ensuring that the price at which the energy sources are procured is affordable to the country's economy," Prof. Wijayatunga told the SAARC Energy Ministers' Forum held in Pakistan recently.

He said that Sri Lanka being an importer of all its fossil fuel requirements which form the basis of about 85% of the country's entire commercial energy supply is vulnerable in both these aspects of energy security.

On the other hand the major advantage it possesses is that approximately 50% of its primary energy requirements are based on non-commercial energy or biomass and about 8% is based on hydropower resources, he said.

At present energy consumption levels are only 42% of the primary energy supplies are exposed to factors beyond Sri Lanka's control.

But in the future this situation will change to the disadvantage of the country with rapid increase in the use of petroleum fuels and addition of coal into the primary energy equation, he said.

He said that the draft Energy Policy and Strategies of Sri Lanka has proposed many strategies to ensure energy security in the country.

According to Prof. Wijayatunga the draft proposals have been considered many aspects including the introduction of fuel diversity in electricity generation through diversifying into non-oil generation technologies, e-transport sector through transport systems based on electricity and other non-oil fuels, promotion of regional cooperation in the energy sector in different forms.

This also includes establishing a cross-boarder energy transfer links with neighbouring countries, introduction of energy industry reforms with the participation of the State and private sector partnership.

He also said that clear separation of policy-making, regulation and operation of the energy industry to ensure transparency and accountability and to provide comfort to the investors in the energy industry.

In addition to the above, special attention will be paid to the development of the renewable energy sources such as wind power and biomass based electricity generation, which are largely untapped resources at present.

Faster exploitation of remaining hydropower potential both at small-scale as well as medium-scale in collaboration with the private sector to maintain a strategic share of commercial energy supplies based on indigenous sources.

Prof. Wijayatunga said the importance of encouraging energy conservation at all levels from supply to end-user with the escalating of energy cost.

Vigorous implementation of the oil and gas exploration proposals in order to ensure that these resources are exploited at an early stage of economic development when the country is more vulnerable to externalities, he said.

Many of these suggestions have been made in the Regional Energy Security study carried out with the assistance of the USAID funded South Asia Regional Initiative on Energy (SARI/Energy). The recommendations of this study was presented to the meeting by Prof. Wijayatunga.

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