Sri Lanka tea factories cut energy costs

Dec 16, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea factories are cutting energy costs under an initiative to make them more competitive in overseas markets given the island’s high cost of electricity, industry officials said. Furthermore, a lot of the machinery in tea factories is old and not energy efficient, officials said. Tea was the first sector selected for the initiative by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority which is promoting energy saving measures in industry.

The project, which trains factory staff with the help of the Tea Research Institute, so far has covered 14 percent of the 600-odd tea factories in the island.

Tea factories that were covered in the programme achieved energy savings of 3-16 percent, industry officials said.

A few factories had managed to cut energy consumption levels to almost 0.63 kWh (kilowatt hours) a kilo of made tea, the national benchmark, according to the SLSEA.

It estimates that if all factories bring energy consumption levels down to the national benchmark levels, the potential energy saved amounts to 30 million kWh a year, equivalent to the total electricity consumption of 70 tea factories.

Sri Lanka’s electricity costs are said to be the highest in