A new report shows that Sri Lanka could meet its current and future electricity demand through renewable energy alone by 2050. But it would take up to $50 billion in investments to achieve this.
Sri Lanka set itself a highly ambitious goal at the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh last year. Held just one year after the historic Paris climate talks, it was one of 43 countries that committed to produce 100 per cent of its electricity through renewables by 2050.
A new report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) shows that the country is on track to meeting this goal. It found that the country’s installed electricity generation capacity needs will increase from the present 3,700 MW to around 34,000 MW by 2050.
To achieve 100% renewable energy by this time, 15,000 MW could come wind energy and 16,000 MW solar energy. The rest can be met by hydro and biomass-based power plants.
In addition to installing renewable energy generation, Sri Lanka will also have to introduce electricity storage to ensure stability of the electricity grid.
Substituting imported fossil fuels with renewable energy by 2050 would provide direct monetary benefits and reduce Sri Lanka’s fuel import bill by around $18 billion cumulatively.
At the same time, the transition to 100 per cent clean energy generation will require investments of some $50 billion.
ADB has already demonstrated its support to the low-carbon development of Sri Lanka, through recent proposals such as a rooftop solar programme and a large-scale wind power project.
In 2016, ADB assistance across the region totalled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in co-financing.