- It is the vision of President to take Sri Lanka out of the crisis in a green space -Advisor to the President on Climate Change Erik Solheim
Sri Lanka is to mobilize green energy investments in the energy sector and invites local and foreign direct investments for that purpose, Senior Advisor to the President on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene said.
He stated this while delivering the opening speech of the Sri Lanka Clean Energy Summit 2023 held at Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo yesterday (27).
This Summit is a great opportunity for investors to find and identify green energy investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s energy sector and the private sector is crucial in developing and deploying renewable energy technology, he said.
He also mentioned that Sri Lanka is a very rare example of a country that has achieved higher human development while managing CO2 emissions well below the Paris Agreement.
Also he said that as a party to the Paris Agreement, Sri Lanka is also committed in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions by 14.5% by 2030.
Correspondingly, the country is further committed to achieve a 70% share of renewable energy in electricity requirements by 2030, Carbon neutrality by 2050 in electricity generation and no further capacity addition of unabated coal power generation.
Advisor to the President on Climate Change Erik Solheim said that it is the vision of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to take Sri Lanka out of the crisis in a green space.
Solheim said that the two biggest developing countries China and India are now the two leaders of the Green Revolution while pointing out that Sri Lanka, with such a good relationship with China, as well as India, has enormous opportunity to move towards a green economy.
Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said that his role as the Minister is to facilitate the rapid changes required to keep Sri Lanka globally competitive.
The mentality of most of the state institutions needs to be buried and an innovative mind-set both in management and process must be introduced, the Minister said.
Thus, Minister Wijesekera pointed out the first part of his agenda is to set the institutional framework for this purpose but some people think the sole purpose of the reform agenda is to privatize the Ceylon Electricity Board, but in fact it is much broader. He added that they are setting up the sectorial Government’s framework for a power future breaking free from institutional framework.
Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Dr. Anil Jasinghe while addressing the conference said that it is the Government’s expectation to increase Sri Lanka’s forest cover up to 32%, and that it cannot be done just by conventional methods. For that purpose, Carbon credit concept will be used. He pointed out that the country can earn income by doing so and increase the forest cover.
Minister of Environment Naseer Ahamed, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister of Investment Promotion Dilum Amunugama, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe, General Manager of Ceylon Electricity Board Rohan Seneviratna, Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Senior Energy Specialist of the World Bank Jari Vayrynen, Executive Director (Promotions), Board of Investment of Sri Lanka Prasanjith Wijethilake, Kavin Kandasamy, Founder and Director of SEED Ventures, Karachi, Mr. Faraz Khan and other officials attended this event.
Ruwan Wijewardene addressing the Sri Lanka Clean Energy Summit 2023 further said:
I am indeed honoured to serve as Chair of the Sri Lanka Clean Energy Summit 2023.I take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to all of you at this important event. I hope we can exchange views in a frank and forth manner.
Before we commence, I will set out how we plan to conduct events today. We will be focusing on key areas for the development of Sri Lanka, such as economic environment, how we can facilitate investors in Sri Lanka and the role of Carbon credit in climate change, followed by a network investment.
Sri Lanka, being a country with abundant renewable energy potential, is seeking opportunities in transitioning to renewables to march towards sustainable development. The transition does not limit reducing fuel imports that are placing a burden on Government finances. It enables the creation of jobs, including for women, and rebuilds the economy based on clean and affordable energy. The transition will create multiple gains for the economy, the energy industry and the environment.
Sri Lanka is a low Carbon emitting country with emissions of approximately 1.2 tons per capita per year on average. The country’s development pathway has always remained low Carbon intensive.
Sri Lanka is a very rare example of a country that has achieved higher human development while managing CO2 emissions well below the Paris Agreement. As a party to the Paris Agreement, Sri Lanka is also committed to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions by 14.5% by 2030. Correspondingly, the country is further committed to achieving a 70% share of renewable energy in electricity requirements by 2030, Carbon neutrality by 2050 in electricity generation and no further capacity addition of unabated coal power generation.
Investing in renewable energy is one way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and reduce the environmental impact. In this context, the private sector is crucial in developing and deploying renewable energy technology. The Government of Sri Lanka invites local and foreign direct investments to develop renewable energy in Sri Lanka for mobilizing green energy investments in Sri Lanka’s energy sector. This will also create networks and partnerships with green investments for clean energy.
So this Summit is expected to be the opening to accelerate the country’s transition to a low Carbon economy and achieve climate commitment collectively. I invite you to actively take part in the Sri Lanka Clean Energy Summit 2023 to create networks and partnerships for clean energy development in Sri Lanka.
Before concluding, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our President Ranil Wickremesinghe for initiating this great idea and leading us guiding us throughout. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the Advisor to the President on Climate Change Mr. Erik Solheim.
Advisor to the President on Climate Change Mr. Erik Solheim while addressing the Summit:
I would like to start my speech quoting what Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said this weekend. He said there are two types of people in the world; those who have visited Sri Lanka and those who didn’t visit Sri Lanka. All of you are in the category of those who have visited Sri Lanka, and you can encourage the rest of the world to move into the category of those who have visited Sri Lanka.
I’ve been associating with Sri Lanka since 1998 when then President Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga asked me to be involved in the peace process here. And I’m more aware than most, that Sri Lanka has been through years of pain of war and economic crisis. But the people of Sri Lanka have also shown an enormous resilience through this crisis.
It has one of the highest education levels of any developing country, has a very highlife expectancy, and the level of living in Sri Lanka is very high. So let’s celebrate this enormous progress because it shows the hard work and the spirit of the people of Sri Lanka.
Last week we got good news for Sri Lanka. I will congratulate all those who have contributed to that for sure. Most of all, President Wickremesinghe, for getting the approval from the IMF Executive Board for Sri Lanka’s program under the Extended Fund Facility.
Yes, there will be many difficulties in the future, but it’s a platform for Sri Lanka to put the worst of the economic crisis behind itself and move forward and look into the future.
There are a number of people coming from different corners of the world here and some of you might have just come for these events. Next time you come, spend some time in Sri Lanka.
Today we are here to focus on renewable energies. Sri Lanka, has a fantastic potential for renewable, for wind power at land and sea. The very shallow shelf between India and Sri Lanka is very well suited for offshore wind. That’s a good potential for solar as are many rivers. It can bring storage and it can be a habitat for green hydrogen.
Others will speak with more detailed knowledge on all this later today. Let me just set out one issue and that is we need to change our perspective far too often, and people speak as if going green is a cost. It’s not. It’s an enormous opportunity.
A recent study from the United States show that if the United States opt into solar, it’s not just cheaper than to make new coal as well as it’s cheaper to make new solar plants and to run all coal plants. So every single Dollar that Americans move from coal into solar, the same money add to improve people’s health and environment.
And the best underpinning of that message is that the two biggest developing countries are now the two leaders of the Green Revolution. Sorry for us, in the West, most Americans and most Europeans have not really taken on board this message, but China indeed is leading the search into their green future.
82% of all solar panels in the world last year were made in China. 70% of all electric batteries last year remained in China. 80% of all new hydropower in the world last year came in China. If you move to India, Prime Minister Modi is launching green initiatives by Delhi. They’re called Green Missions; Prime Minister Modi is making it easy for them by green hydrogen emission, electric mobility emission, electric battery emission, production of solar panel emission, etc.
And why are China and India doing this? It is because it’s good for the environment, good for people’s health, and also good for the economy. They believe they can capture markets.
And Sri Lanka, with such a good relationship with China, but so close to India, has enormous opportunity to tap into this. But of course, working with Japan, Korea, Europe, USA, all who can contribute to development of Sri Lanka, brings investment that capture markets for Sri Lanka.
Just across the state in Tamil Nadu, there is a company called ‘Ola’. They have set up a fantastic factory. 2000 young Indians just making electric scooters in Tamil Nadu. It’s a beautiful, clean, fantastic place. The owner said, I really wanted to show what Indian ladies and girls can do. Their slogan, which I really think is kind of good. That is, ‘Tesla for the West, Ola for the rest’, meaning that Ola can capture any amount of markets with two wheelers, three wheelers and four wheelers which may drive there in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
So that is the vision I really want to set for Sri Lanka to be part of this great search of developing countries to capture markets, increase the economy, providing jobs by going green at the same time. And that is exactly the vision of President Ranil Wickremesinghe. He really wants to take Sri Lanka out of the crisis, but in a green space.