The Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority was established upon realising the necessity of having an apex institution to drive Sri Lanka towards a new level of sustainability in energy supply and use, through increasing indigenous energy and improving energy efficiency and energy conservation within the country. With this landmark legislative instrument, the absolute ownership of all renewable energy resources was vested in the Republic under the provisions of Section 15 of the Act, treating it as any other national resource. One of the main objectives of the Authority is to identify, assess and develop renewable energy resources with a view to enhancing energy security and thereby derive economic and social benefits to the country.
The Government of Sri Lanka envisaged developing New Renewable Energy technologies to reach a 10% target in power generation by 2016. This target was successfully achieved a year ahead in 2015. Currently the overall goal is to reach 70% of electricity generation by renewable energy, the larger portion of which would comprise of NRE (which excludes existing large scale hydro power projects).
Renewable Energy Resource Development Plan 2021-2026 is going to be published through a gazette notification under the provisions given in Section 8 of the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority Act.
Renewable Energy Resource Development Plan focuses the implementation of large-scale renewable energy projects. The projects that have been developed in the past periods, i.e. through feed-in tariff scheme at the initial stage and through competitive bidding at later stages, are of the capacities upto 10 MW connected to the national electricity grid at the medium voltage (33 kV) level. In the Renewable Energy Resource Development Plan, projects in the range of 100 MW capacity have been mainly focused, which are to be connected to the grid at high voltage level (132 kV, 220 kV).
Availability of the resource, possibilities for obtaining lands for project development, availability of transmission lines or possibilities for expanding the transmission system are the major criteria in the development of renewable energy in large scale. As those considerations are of particular relevance for solar power, wind power and biomass-based electricity, those sources have been primarily dealt with in the Plan. As the project site identification and the initial studies related to project sites are specifically coming under the purview of SLSEA, this process has been put into a schematic approach in the development of this Plan. The initial lands being identified based on resource availability, are filtered considering the reservation and buffer areas – forest, wildlife reservation, archaeological sites, coastal conservation areas, road network, water bodies, urban areas & areas declared by Urban Development Authority, buildings, aviation ports, etc. Prioritization of sites has been done using a weighted overlay model of the related criteria.
In addition to the land-based large-scale projects, off-shore wind power potential and floating solar power potential have also been included in the Plan. Wave energy resource potential has been focused as an emerging energy source in the country.
Planned Energy Park projects for the project development period 2021-2026 have been included in the Plan. It is expected to review and update the Plan once in 3 years.
Any person (an individual or a company) may apply to develop a renewable energy project anytime, irrespective of whether the person holds any rights to the resource or land in which the resource has occurred. An Application to register a site can be made after payment of the prescribed application fee to us. Thereafter the Applicant is required to obtain planning approvals from various Line Agencies to be able to proceed forward. Application forms can be obtained from us.
The Body charged with scrutinising Applications and granting Approvals is known as the Project Approving Committee (PAC). The PAC is established under provisions of Section 10 of the Act. The PAC comprises of Heads or their representatives of Government Institutes pertaining to the granting of planning approvals for the development of renewable energy projects.
Continuing in the evolution of renewable energy development, the process is now evolving into a competitive process, where the most cost-effective developers are favoured against the less cost-effective developers.
We also conduct periodical awareness programmes to facilitate and enable renewable energy development. The primary target group of these programmes are the officers of line agencies involved in the process of granting approvals for carrying on and engaging in renewable energy projects. The objectives of the workshop are;