“The energy sector not only effects the economy of the country it has an impact on the day to day activates of the people and society and their culture and most importantly the politics,” Ranawaka said.
“Most of the international issues like political conflicts and other armed conflicts are based on energy and oil. These issues began with the first discovery of fossil fuels, oil, coal and gas coming into use.”
The Minister made these comments at the launch of the “Sri Lanka energy sector development plan for a knowledge based economy 2015 – 2025” in Colombo a short while ago.
The key target of the newly developed energy plan is to be energy self-sufficient as a nation by 2030.
The plan mentions eight main trust areas to achieve this: An integrated national energy policy formulation, a cleaner future through green energy, conservation and efficient use of energy, customer satisfaction in service and quality, timely development of infrastructure, efficient energy sector and good governance, innovative financing for a diverse energy sector and investment in research and development for cutting edge product development.
The annual total electricity demand in the country is about 10,500 Giga-watt hours, comprising 38 per cent from domestic consumers, 39 per cent from industries, 20 per cent from commercial enterprises and balance from religious organizations and lighting.
The total energy requirement of the country was 11,125 ktoe (Kilotonne of Oil Equivalent) in 2013 and the primary energy supply mainly consisted of biomass, fossil fuels and hydro.
Accordingly, 56 per cent of total energy consumption is from indigenous (biomass and hydro) and the island has to import fossil fuels to bridge the gap.
At present the island imports crude oil, refined petroleum products and coal costing five million US dollars accounting for 25 per cent of the countries import bill.
The minister says, almost 25 per cent of our import bill and 50 per cent of the country’s export income is spent on fossil fuels.
“This is dangerous a situation as this is one of the biggest burdens on the economy and has a huge bearing on the island’s balance of trade and exchange rates,” Ranawaka said.
“Other countries in the region have progressed very fast in to the higher middle income zone but Sri Lanka has not been able to do this because energy policy plays a big role in this,”
“We have been a middle income country since 1998 and are still there in the lower middle income category and are only slowly moving towards the higher limit.”