Micro power grids: Pilot project launched | Sunday Observer

Micro power grids: Pilot project launched

27 September, 2020

Marking the end of an era where diesel power generation was critical to survive during sudden energy drops, a novel state, private and international collaboration has succeeded in setting up the first pilot project to explore the potential of developing micro power grids in Sri Lanka.

The principal collaboration between Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) and the University of Moratuwa to install a smart grid laboratory in the university has attracted Asian Development Bank, DIMO and DHYBRID, a German company renowned for similar innovations.

The project was unveiled at the Kingsbury Hotel last week. Minister of Education Prof. G.L. Pieris, Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma, Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Prof. Kapila Perera, Secretary to the Ministry of Power, Mrs. Wasantha Perera, Acting General Manager of LECO, Dr. Narendra de Silva, Country Director for ADB, Dr. Chen Chen, Chairman and Managing Director of DIMO, Ranjith Pandithage were also present.

The pilot project comprises a commercial cicro grid and R&D facility which will be used as a research platform to study renewable energy integration and smart grids.

Prof. Kapila Perera outlined the human capital development aspect of the project.

“We first had a small scale project in the University of Moratuwa in 2017. With this collaboration the University will have a state-of-the-art laboratory to conduct research on smart grids. Nurturing human capital is also a major part of this project,” he said.

Stressing the importance of innovations, Prof. G.L. Peiris told the gathering that during the Covid outbreak three vital sectors, tourism, foreign remittance and exports dipped and only the innovative mindset of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs bounced the economy back amid innumerable challenges. “That is why innovation is important,” he said.

He also encouraged the collaboration between the University of Moratuwa, LECO, ADB, DIMO and DHYBRID, particularly as a model to be followed in future innovations.

“We wish to increase local production and reliable power generation is a must to increase production. I consider this pilot project as very vital,” the Professor said.

The ADB has granted USD 1.8 million to set up the project.

“Energy has always been a priority in ADB’s development support to members. While assisting to upgrade the energy sector in Asian countries, we focus on increasing the use of clean energy to combat climate change.

So far we have granted over USD 10 million to member countries to fulfill similar objectives,” Dr. Chen Chen said. The ADB has been a long time partner in Sri Lanka’s energy sector projects which includes assistance to build the country’s first large scale 100MW wind park in Mannar.

Secretary to the Ministry of Power, Mrs Wasantha Perera said, “After installing micro grids across the country, Sri Lanka will inherit a more resilient and sustainable power supply.

“I am happy to see the Ministry of Education joining hands with us today. It reflects the sharing of ultramodern knowledge to the next generation,” he said.

The Government hopes to increase the share of renewable energy to the national power supply by 70 percent by 2030.