Sri Lanka renewable energy drive seen hurt by red tape

Aug 14, 2010 (LBO) – Premature cancellation of projects and complex and lengthy approval procedures are retarding the development of renewable energy like mini-hydro power in Sri Lanka, an official said.

“The government has set up the SEA which is now helping us to overcome problems and trying to streamline the process of granting approvals. But we need more support if we are to meet the renewable energy targets.” There is also concern that tax and duty incentives might end, Probodha Sumanasekera of the Small Hydro Developers Association told an energy symposium.

It was held alongside the ‘Vidulka’ energy week and exhibition, a Power and Energy Ministry initiative to promote clean energy and energy conservation.

Sumanasekera called for a more streamlined approvals process and the retention of the current standardised power purchase agreements to ensure a level playing field.

“Cancellation of projects is a big issue for the industry,” he said. “Premature cancellation after one year is leading to a lot of real investors backing off.”

He suggested the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) categorise projects into three tiers based on the level of approvals they have obtained,