June 15, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will be able to light up 60,000 rural homes and also connect new private-sector renewable energy to the urban power grid with a new World Bank credit, the multilateral lender said. Only three-fourths of households in Sri Lanka have grid-connected power and it is too expensive for the cash-strapped utility to electrify remote villages, though most rural areas have been given power.

“We would like to focus on the provision of energy services to some of the 25
percent of the Sri Lankan population that has no access to electricity at home,”
said World Bank’s Country Director Naoko Ishii said in a statement.

The 4.4 billion-rupee (40 million dollar) soft loan will help boost grid-connecting capacity by 50 Mega Watts and extend off-grid electricity services to 60,000 more households and 500 rural micro- and small-scale enterprises, she added.

The main aim of the first project was to bring electricity to remote communities and individual households through village-led electricity societies and provide solar energy services, the World Bank said.

“The productive use of electricity has resulted in an increase of non-farm incomes of rural households; and improved the d