Electricity Sector Needs To Open Up..
A market economy is sine qua non to develop the electricity sector, a Sri Lankan born engineer domiciled in the USA told a forum in Colombo on Monday.
Don Nissanka, President & CEO Exergonix, a company which provides “green” energy solutions, said this, when he was told by this reporter that state owned Ceylon Electricity Board and Lanka Electricity Company (Pvt.) Ltd. have the sole monopoly in Sri Lanka in regard to the sale of electricity to the consumer.
This was in the context of his speech, which was about selling green electricity energy products to the customer. Nissanka in reply said that the uniqueness of the American system was its entrepreneurial based market economy.
Speaking from his experience in the USA, he said that selling the idea of marketing electricity, is bankable. “Any bank, if it’s assured of revenue streams for a sustained period of 20 years will fund such a project,” said Nissanka. The consumer may be a municipality or an industry or a community, he said.
Nissanka said that the Americans consume a lot of electricity. A household may have as many as eight TV sets coupled with air conditioners, he said. For such households he sells 25 kilo Watt (kW) battery cells powered by a mix of wind energy and solar power. Nissanka said that it’s more cost effective if these battery storage cells are dual powered, ie by both sunlight and wind energy.
For the Sri Lankan off grid household, where the needs are basic, probably an electric light for the children to study at night, a 1-2 kW battery storage cell would be sufficient, he said. The price of such a cell is US$ ($) 1,000 and its lifespan 15 years, said Nissanka.
This is new technology, but once it’s mass produced costs will go down, he said.
For instance an electricity unit from a one mega Watt storage battery which was previously sold for $ 2.50, has since come down to $ one and as even as low as 50 US cents, Nissanka said. In time to come such green storage batteries will be able to compete with generators, he said.
Green energy is the future, a lot of countries are moving towards that path, he said. Last year the global energy market was valued at $ 5.8 trillion of which the renewable energy sector was the fastest growing, Nissanka said.
They could be connected to the conventional grid run by fossil fuels.
Its development, particularly in the USA was due to the high cost of conventional energy that had even led to blackouts. As a result, in certain areas, energy prices which were a mere 2-3 US cents per unit, shot up to 40-50 cents. A 1,000 acre campus is being developed in the USA for the study of green technology, he added. The US Government has invested $ 2.4 billion for the development of green technology.
“Capturing renewable energy and feeding them back to the grid, we are prepared to do that in Sri Lanka,” said Nissanka.
The event was organized by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Sri Lanka Network.