Hemas Power is looking at “an offshore project in East Africa” while exploring biomass opportunities in Sri Lanka, says CEO Krishan Nanayakkara.

The company is looking overseas after a severe drought hit its business, he told Sri Lanka’s Business Times. In 2010 Hemas Power’s revenues grew by 75 per cent largely due to high rainfall, he added.

In Sri Lanka the company is waiting for approval from state authorities for “two to three” hydropower projects, he said.

He forecast that raising Sri Lanka’s generation capacity would be vital to its economic development. While more than 86 per cent of its households are electrified, per-capita consumption is low even by the standards of South Asia, he said.

“As per the long-term generation plan (LTGP) of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) the country’s electricity demand is estimated to increase by 5430 MW by 2022,” he told the newspaper.

“We believe this to be considerably higher now, as the LTGP estimates were prepared before the war was concluded.”

While 2740 MW of this demand is expected to be met through coal power plants, these could pose environmental challenges, although costing less than oil burning plants, he said. He welcomed a raised renewables target of 20 per cent of generation by 2020, up from 10 per cent in 2015.

“In this context, it is seemingly imperative that efforts to maximise usage of renewable energy resources to generate power are fast tracked,” he added.

In his view, it is still unclear whether Independent Power Projects (IPPs) will deliver the long-term demand through larger thermal plants. “It can be assumed that some portion of the requirement will at least be met through the IPPs.”

But it is already apparent that a bulk of renewables projects – hydropower, wind or biomass – will be met through IPPs, he said.

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