Sri Lanka Pledges No New Coal, Makes Push Into Rooftop Solar

A solar installation in Sri Lanka.

A solar installation in Sri Lanka. Dominic Sansoni / World Bank via Flickr

In its latest climate plan, Sri Lanka is ruling out new coal power and aiming to reach 70 percent clean electricity by 2030, an important milestone on its way to reaching its goal of a carbon-neutral electricity generation system by 2050, Climate Home News reported.

In 2019, 35 percent of Sri Lanka’s electricity came from renewables, mostly hydropower, with the remainder of its electricity coming from oil and coal. The new push into renewables is motivated, in part, by a drive for energy independence, as Sri Lanka produces no oil or coal, Climate Home reported.

Sir Lanka currently has just one coal-fired power plant, built in 2006 with Chinese backing. Since coming online, the plant has been the subject of protests over air and water pollution. Sri Lanka had plans to build a second coal plant, with financing from India, but that project was torpedoed by a legal challenge in 2016.

The small island nation plans to meet its clean power goal by ramping up investment in rooftop solar, offering low-interest loans funded by a $50 million investment from the Asian Development Bank, Climate Home reported.

“These solar energy schemes have been implemented across industrial parks, as well, including large-scale roofs and households,” Anoka Abeyrathne, director of the Colombo, Sri Lanka-based sustainability firm Aayusha Global, told Climate Home. “This makes financial sense for both corporates and households as the costs for energy is greatly reduced. In addition, solar power buy-back to the grid is encouraging more people to install solar systems as an additional revenue system.”