FIGHTING FOSSIL FUELS IN SRI LANKA
In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce described growing up in Ireland when it was a tiny, impoverished, almost forgotten island country. In Chapter 1, Joyce’s elementary-school-aged main character writes out his place in the world: “…Stephen Dedalus - Class of Elements - Clongowes Wood College - Sallins - County Kildare – Ireland – Europe - The World - The Universe…”
To Joyce and his main character, there is a big, big universe beyond the little island of Ireland. But he and his island are at the center.
In A world without oil and coal: a solution for Sri Lanka’s electrical energy crisis in the post fossil fuel age, Asoka Abeygunawardana argues that Sri Lanka must resist the building of new coal plants because of the state of global climate change. Like James Joyce, Abeygunawardana sees his island homeland to be as much as any other place the center of the world - and, as so, at the center of the world's fight against global climate change. He takes his responsibility very seriously.
Abeygunawardana presents 2 broad arguments for his position that Sri Lanka’s government must turn away from coal in its next 6-year energy plan. His first argument is cost. Fossil fuel reserves are peaking. New fossil fuel generation has already become expensive and, as supplies peak, the cost will be greater.
Asoka Abeygunawardana, Electrical Engineer, Environmentalist and Author: “Coal prices have increased three times over during the past three years and instead of looking to improve renewable energy sources, authorities plan on building 3,300 electricity generating plants powered by coal over the next decade without realising the environmental or financial costs…”
Abeygunawardana’s second argument is about global climate change. Climate change is the result, more than any other single cause in human control, of greenhouse gases emitted from burning coal to generate electricity. Sri Lanka must, Abeygunawardana argues, do what it can to avert the natural disasters likely to result from unchecked climate change that are likely to cause massive loss of life and property.
The only logical alternative, Abeygunawardana concludes, is New Energy: “Wind power is an unlimited resource. A gradual increase of wind power plants over the next six years for a capacity of 300MW would be realistic and appropriate. As for wave energy the government should at least target tapping about 200MW of wave energy over the next six years…”
Sri Lanka's Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka, its Minister of Science and Technology Tissa Vitarana and the Vice Chancellor of Moratuwa University Vidyajothi Ray Wijewardane heard Abeygunawardana make his case at the launch of his book.
The fight against coal in Sri Lanka today could be the fight against coal in India tomorrow and the fight against coal in China the next day. It is with deep gratitude that NewEnergyNews therefore acknowledges the contribution of a writer far from the grand rostrums of Brussels, Washington, D.C., or Denver’s mile-high Invesco Field who nevertheless is speaking truth to power.
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The importance of tapping renewable energy; Book launch
Jeevani Pereira and Ishara Jayawardane, August 27, 2008 (Sri Lanka Daily Mirror)
Asoka Abeygunawardana, Electrical Engineer/Environmentalist/Author; CEB of Sri Lanka
A world without oil and coal: a solution for Sri Lanka’s electrical energy crisis in the post fossil fuel age
Sri Lanka has great wind and sun. (click to enlarge)
Speaking at the launch of his book August 27, Abeygunawardana called for a Sri Lankan 6-year energy plan that includes the development of New Energy.
Sri Lanka is a small player in a big world. That big world is in crisis and the smallest actions could have big impacts.
- Several of Sri Lanka’s concerned leaders (Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Science and Technology Tissa Vitarana and Vice Chancellor of Moratuwa University Vidyajothi Ray Wijewardane) heard Abeygunawardana make his case against coal and for New Energy.
- Abeygunawardana contends that the CEB’s reliance on coal in its energy plan is based on the mistaken belief that coal is the cheapest source of new power generation.
- Abeygunawardana’s calculations put the cost of new coal generation at 5 times the cost of the CEB’s calculation (Rs 30 per unit vs. Rs 6 per unit).
- Abeygunawardana presents 2 broad arguments for his position: (1) Peaking fossil fuel reserves and (2) the costs of global climate change havoc.
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Asoka Abeygunawardana, Electrical Engineer/Environmentalist/Author: “The CEB believes that a Coal powered electricity unit would cost Rs 6 per unit. However, if they take into consideration other factors it would come up to Rs 30 per unit in actuality…”