At a time when the whole nation in a lockdown mode, with health care authorities and those supporting them working 24/7 to get the country free from COVID-19 virus pandemic, the experts in other state authorities could serve the country better if they work from home during shutdown to resolve issues of their own sectors. One such are experts in authorities responsible for power generation in the country.
In Sri Lanka with Fossil fuel energy consumption as a % of total was 50.55 in 2014, the highest value over the past 43 years, while its lowest value was 23.53 in 1976 is a heavy burden on the country as the Fossil fuel, that comprises of coal, oil, petroleum and natural gas products are all imported into the country.
Whereas, the rest is Renewable energy that comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, biomass which are renewable as they are naturally replenished. Renewable energy resources include hydro-power, biomass, solar energy, and wind energy and Sri Lanka is blessed with these renewable energy sources which must all be fully utilized to fulfill energy requirements of the country.
Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) as the power utility of the country has promoted generation of electricity using these Renewable Energy Resources since early nineties by giving the required assistance to the private sector, which includes training & capacity building, pre-feasibility studies and resource assessments.
With climate change activists around the world rejoicing to the fact that greenhouse gas emissions are dropping. The current dual crises of oil prices dipping and Covid-19 virus have thrown the future of renewable in to doubt; whereas people must keep using the renewable energy resources available. The demand for energy, until recently the cornerstone of globalization and economic growth, has plummeted as countries implement sharp restrictions on movement and social activity in an effort to beat back Covid-19. Oil has crashed in value, approaching levels not seen in decades, as lock downs put economies on hold the world over. Before oil was engulfed in its latest crisis, it was already facing an existential threat from new forms of renewable energy.
Globally, renewable energy sectors including wind, solar, and hydro-power are booming. The world is using more renewable energy than ever before. Over one third of the world’s electricity comes from renewable sources. From 2018 to 2019, new renewable energy capacity construction slowed down slightly. But since the world also built less new fossil fuel infrastructure, renewable share in energy expansion grew. A record-breaking 72 percent of all the new electricity sources the world installed in 2019 were renewable.
Asia was responsible for much of that growth. The continent accounted for 54 percent of renewable capacity additions last year. And though the number of fossil-based plants also grew in Asia, as well as in the Middle East and Africa, that wasn’t the case everywhere. The U.S. and Europe closed down more fossil fuel-powered plants than they opened.
It is expected that wind energy growth will be impacted by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, due to disruptions to global supply chains could delay major solar plants due to its lockdown. But financial incentive investment into renewable could speed up the transition away from dirty energy.
For Sri Lankans to ensure that the present COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t derail the inroads no-carbon energy has begun to make; the authorities in charge of energy generation must be ready to take appropriate action promptly.
In this scenario when the pandemic ends in few weeks, time will come to pour money into renewable, enabling the country to eventually move to 100 percent renewable energy. True the transition to all renewable will be costly, but it’s far cheaper than the cost of continuing down the road of building more fossil fuel infrastructure and letting emissions rise.