Electricity Mafia goes all out to stall Renewable Energy Projects in Sri Lanka.
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Bureaucrats from the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) along with what is dubbed the ‘Electricity Mafia’ are stalling Renewable Energy Projects in Sri Lanka and the government is grappling to counter it, power and energy ministry sources claimed.
Sri Lanka’s ambition for 70% renewable electricity by 2030 faces hurdles within the power sector, notably from alleged resistance within the Ceylon Electricity Board, sources said.
At present the Sri Lanka Renewable energy system has completely collapsed due to fraudulent agreements with the companies that run Diesel Power Plants.
Further, for 20 or 30 years it was said that electricity was to be generated from Renewable Energy from Solar Energy, However, this Engineering Mafia will not allow that to be a reality.
Despite the Government backing, utility-scale renewable projects are stalled due to opposition from CEB officials, causing a loss of 3,200 GWH annually worth Rs. 20 billion, as per estimate by industry sources.
The Government’s US $ 3 billion clean energy initiative encounters setbacks, delaying private investments in wind, solar and battery storage.
“The recent grid failure acts as a wake-up call. Sri Lanka must act promptly to avoid global stagnation. Breaking from the CEB-dominated system to encourage healthy competition among stakeholders is crucial.
It promises enhanced service quality and reliability, crucial for Sri Lanka’s continued growth with relevance on the global stage,” source said.
Companies have already announced plans to commit $ 25 billion in investment up to 2030 in the renewable energy sector in the country, according to the Board of Investment.
Potential private investments over the next three to four years through FDI could include $ 3 billion in utility-scale wind, solar and battery storage projects; Sun Power leading with $ 1.5 billion, followed by Adani Green with $ 900 million, Orbital Energy with $ 200 million, WindForce with $ 150 million and balance by a consortium of private developers.
The wind power project alone promises annual savings of $ 50 million. However, the internal resistance, coined as a ‘mafia’ within the CEB, aims to thwart progress, posing a threat to both economic growth and renewable energy targets.
The recent grid failure emphasizes the urgency for change to encourage competition and enhance reliability in the power sector.
Sri Lanka grapples with rising electricity generation costs, lacking the benefits seen in neighbouring countries with Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
Inadequate transmission planning revealed by grid failures contrasts with advanced private setups in India, emphasizing technology-driven customer empowerment.
To advance, Sri Lanka’s CEB-dominated sector requires reforms, inviting private players under robust oversight to balance growth and consumer needs.
Amid these challenges, IPPs like Adani for example could offer a substantial 30% cost reduction, dropping unit costs below $ 0.10 according to an industry source.
“This benefit can be passed on to the users. With over 500,000 red notices issued to households over non-payment of their electricity bills, is it time that Sri Lanka looks for more sustainable alternatives,” the source emphasized.