All stakeholders in the electricity industry should be equal and it is the duty of the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) to make sure that equality is well practiced, energy expert Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya said.
“Keeping the Ceylon Electricity Board as a loss making organization continuously for 12 years will not contribute to the degree of confidence that we want to inculcate to get the private sector to invest on renewable energy sources”, Dr. Siyambalapitiya told a panel discussion on Achieving Low Carbon Development Targets in the Power Sector, organised by the Centre for Banking Studies and the Central bank of Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka is a low energy intensive country; our per capita electricity consumption is 700 kWh per person per year.”
Dr. Siyambalapitiya further said that Sri Lanka should expect a higher consumption requirement of electricity.
“Per capita electricity consumption in Malaysia is at 5000 kWh .Sri Lankan uses just about 12% of what a Malaysian uses today. Electricity consumption will increase and we will have to prepare for that.”
He said, Sri Lanka has been using kWh as our measure to indicate the share of renewable energy in the grid and Sri Lanka was 37% renewable in electricity generation in terms of energy. However, Sri Lanka was 48% renewable in terms of capacity of renewable energy for power generation.” Dr. Siyambalapitiya said he was concerned about the very large renewable capacity that will have to be transported over long distances. According to Dr. Siyambalapitiya, the fleet of fossil power plants runs at about 80% of the time, particularly the cheaper ones.
“The capacity factor is 80% whereas for solar PV the capacity factor is 17%. To obtain kWh from a conventional power plant versus a solar PV system, it is required to have approximately four and a half times the capacity in terms of megawatt. Dr. Siyambalapitiya also stressed that every stakeholder in the electricity industry should be equal partners. Customers who wish to get a solar PV connection should be treated fairly and if it cannot be connected, they should be explained as to why it cannot be connected and what has to be done to upgrade the network. In the same way CEB should not be pushed to purchase electricity at prices way above what it could afford.”