“A large force of energy can be created if electricity is saved little by little. A little effort of each individual ultimately contributes to produce a lot of power. We made a small request to switch off one bulb in the period 2011- 2012 when there was an energy crisis. If a bulb of 60-watt switched-off in five million houses, we are able to save 300 MW. That is equivalent to the power generated in the coal power plant in Puttalam. It is able to save a lot of energy when collective strength is added to a little effort.
Energy conservation must not be taken as a political joke. It is an essential process for a nation in the long run. In the future we’ll make it a national effort incorporating the Ceylon Electricity Board, Lanka Electricity Company, Renewable Energy Authority, Ministry of Power and Energy and the Petroleum Corporation. We request all the people to become pioneers to carry forward this great national effort” said the Minister of Power and Energy Mr. Patali Champika Ranawaka.
The minister expressed these views in a ceremony organized to deliver prizes and certificates for the schools and the children who were excelled in the energy tournament organized in 2012, under the “Jana Viduli Balagara” (power generation plants by people) concept with the objective of directing children towards conservation of power and energy. Twenty four schools in the country, and their children received the awards and certificates.
Minister Ranawaka further said,
“The prize giving was not held even though this competition was held in the year 2012. It was a bad practice and a mistake of our political structure. Some institutions do not encourage continuing good practices but they are continuing with bad. I must be thankful to the Lanka Transformers Ltd., for reminding this good practice and coming forward to complete this endeavor as a duty towards our children.
We have encountered this problem in the year 2012. It wouldn’t be an issue if the Coal Power Plant Puttalam and other power plants were operational by that time. The hydro power capacity was dwindled at the end of 2011 and 2012 due to weak monsoon rains. Hence we had to face a crisis situation. There were several plans to arrest the situation. One is implementing a power cut. The other countries of the region are already using power cuts. When the electricity supply cannot meet the demand those countries are not supplying electricity round the clock for 24 hours. However, during that period if power cuts were implemented, it would have become a huge social problem. The second solution was to buy electricity from the private sector in the short-term basis. It costs a large amount of money. It is a large sum of around Rs.17, 000 million.
The third way is conserving power. It’s a challenge. The campaign “today for tomorrow.” started for that purpose. Those school children who were targeted can be identified as national heroes. We were telling that even the hydro power stations were dried out, the electricity can be supplied from “People’s power stations.” Some people were having doubts on that.
Racketeers of this country are waiting to take advantages from crisis situations to strengthen their pockets. We are proud of our school children who liberated the country from such a situation that time. Today, we are living in an era which is most vicious than before. People are creative. The first element of creativity is the language and communication. The second element is the ability of getting done his requirements from the environment. Sri Lanka is one of the world’s first countries which cultivated grain. It’s one of the major creativity of our people. The third important element is the exchange. This is an important feature of man. Another thing of human creativity is the law. The most important thing of human creativity is the usage of energy instead of human and animal labor. Coconut oil was used in our country for that purpose. Other countries used animal fat for the same purpose.
Today, we are able to do many things because of electricity. Fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas deposits are due to diminish in the near future. They will last maximum for another four decades more. After that the country will need to provide with alternative energy sources. The Sustainable Energy Authority is planning to adopt green energy policy. Major part of the energy requirement of Sri Lanka still fulfilled by fire- wood. It is not a symbol of under development. We have to grow our energy in the same way we grow our food. Energy Farming will become the most important industry in the next three decades.
Improving efficiency is the most important thing in the world. We always thought about the demand, but not the management of energy. When increasing the demand we thought of building up more and more power stations but not the ways of saving energy. In Sri Lanka the demand for electricity increases by 4% to 3% per annum. If that percentage can be added back to the grid by the electricity savings of school children, it is not necessary to build new power plants. So we took a decision to move forward towards big savings campaign not only for electricity but also integrating fuel, gas and all allied areas.
We have reduced the prices of fuel. We thought that because of this decreases the amount of money will save with people. But what really happened was the increase of travel because of the prices reduction. This is a bad habit of us. Fuel should be saved. Fuel won’t last for a long time. Bangladesh is providing gas for free. Therefore people in Bangladesh have become lazy to turn off their gas stoves. The biggest problem faced by that government is the continuation of the provision of free gas. Because in another few years the gas deposits of Bangladesh are getting diminished. If they stopped free gas, the government will fall. Pakistan is having18-hour power cut by now. It had happened because the country is not an energy saver. Therefore it has to look for energy supply as well as energy savings. The country could face a kind of a situation which Bangladesh, Pakistan are facing if we are not adopting energy conservation system” he said.
Teachers and students of 24 schools along with senior officials of the Ministry of Power and Energy, Ceylon Electricity Board, Ceylon Electricity Company, and the Lanka transformer Ltd. were attended the event.