Sri Lanka’s Biomass Energy 2022 project hosts second SME workshop

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The Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have jointly hosted a workshop on the second phase of its "Biomass Energy 2022" initiative.

Sri Lanka aims to be a nation more resilient to shocks in the energy sector by 2030. the objective is to increase the power generation capacity of the country from the current 4,043 MW to 6,900 MW by 2025 - with a significant increase in renewable energy.

The Biomass Energy 2022 project aims to increase the use of biomass energy in Sri Lanka for power generation, benefitting local households, farmers and the national economy. Around 40% of Sri Lanka’s primary energy requirements are currently met by biomass energy.

The project expects to further expand biomass production to agricultural waste and develop collection systems to process 100,000 tons of agricultural waste annually, to be given to industries using biomass as an energy source.

A series of training programmes on renewable energy technologies for SMEs and financial institutions will take place as part of the project. These are in partnership with Standard Charted Bank (SCB), and the second of these was recently held in Kandy, Sri Lanka, with 50 SMEs attending.

The programme, which focused on entrepreneurs from various industries ranging from tea, spice, hotel and food and beverage industries, was developed to increase awareness and build the capacity of SMEs on renewable energy technologies in the market.

SLSEA acting director general Harsha Wickramasinghe, said: “In the present economic crisis, the hardest hit segment of our business community is undoubtedly the SME sector.

"The real issue affecting all these small businesses can be traced to the energy supply, either in the transport requirements or in their process energy requirements, which are mainly electricity and fuel for heating applications.

"Providing indigenous solutions, such as biomass and solar-based energy technologies, will contribute in no small measure to rebuilding our SME sector. In this regard, the support provided by SCB and UNDP could be very useful.”

Sampath Ranasinghe, programme coordinator - energy and waste at UNDP in Sri Lanka, commented: “UNDP is committed to supporting SMEs to increase the use of renewable energy technologies through sustainable models for energy production.

"In the prevailing economic crisis, renewable energy technology is the most cost-effective source of energy which will create new business models and opportunities for SMEs by enabling them to benefit from reduced costs and sustainability enhancements”.

Head of corporate affairs, brand & marketing at Standard Chartered Sri Lanka, added: “As a global bank, we are constantly interested in promoting sustainability and green initiatives within our markets and across the globe.

"Keeping in line with the Group’s agenda on achieving net zero by the year 2050, we are honoured to have partnered with the UNDP to share knowledge and training on Biomass and renewable energies, which is a very timely and relevant need.”

The next training programme for SMEs will be held in October 2022.

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