IFC Investment in Sri Lankan Wind Power Preserves Environment, Supports Tourism

http://ifcnet.ifc.org/intranet/news_events.nsf/650f3eec0dfb990fca25692100069854/e68f3febc36c89bd8525792600552c62/WebPageBody/0.8A?OpenElement&FieldElemFormat=jpgOctober 11, 2011 --Sri Lanka is a beautiful island that depends on its natural resources to attract tourism. Now, an IFC investment in wind power is helping the country’s energy supply stay green and keeping the local beauty intact.

IFC is investing $3.8 million in the expansion of SENOK Group’s wind capacity in the country. In 2010, the group pioneered Sri Lanka’s first commercial wind energy plant in Kalpitiya.

With IFC’s investment, SENOK will be able to fast-track the development of two new 10-megawatt wind plants in the same region. This project will help the country avoid over 33,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. It also meets the government’s mandate to increase the mix of renewable energy sources in the country.

The investment comes at an important time: after nearly three decades of conflict, the economy is beginning to get back on track. Development is booming, there is an increased demand for energy, with more energy intensive industries, such as agriculture and tourism, cropping up.

Wind power is a change from the country’s traditional sources of energy– 45 percent of Sri Lanka’s power comes from hydropower, and 48 percent comes from thermal sources. More coal is also being used. Non-renewable sources of energy account for only 7 percent of the island’s installed energy capacity.

But a government mandate has set a goal to meet at least 20 percent of the country’s total electricity requirement through renewable energy sources by 2020.

This expansion of SENOK’s capacity in renewable energy will help establish a benchmark for similar renewable-energy projects in the future.

"The SENOK project is our first direct equity investment in wind power globally. The project represents private sector investment in Renewable Energy, which supports sustainable growth in Sri Lanka” said Anita George, IFC Regional Industry Director - Infrastructure, and Natural Resources, Asia.