Systematic energy management, vital and timely for Sri Lanka – highlight industry leaders

Over 50 industry leaders recently demonstrated their interest in backing Sri Lanka’s plan to mitigate climate change by attending the first in a series of awareness sessions on reducing energy waste. The session, which focused on Energy Management Systems and optimizing energy systems across the country’s industrial sector, was conducted by the European Union funded Accelerating Industries’ Climate Response in Sri Lanka Project, which is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Industries, and the Ministry of Power and Energy are the lead government counterparts to the project.

With industry contributing over a third of global carbon emissions, decoupling industrial energy from greenhouse gas emissions is critical to mitigating climate change. Optimizing the energy systems is a cost-effective way to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions fast, while also reducing the cost of production. The recent session is the first of many planned in Sri Lanka, kicking off a new effort as part of the Project to help industries in the country take the first steps toward being decarbonized by improving energy efficiency.

Delivering the welcome note, P L U Rathnamalala, Director General, Industrial Development Board, said, “We have to take strategic measures with regard to energy. Not just energy we access from the national grid, but also renewable energy sources that we ourselves can bring into our industry. I believe the Project will be the start of a successful, effective, and fruitful initiative towards Sri Lanka’s GDP, industries and the country’s growth.”

In her opening remarks, the Secretary to the Ministry of Industries, Thilaka Jayasundara, expressed the Ministry’s commitment to supporting the Project. She added that she believes the Project will steer Sri Lanka towards green and smart industries, while helping achieve Sri Lanka’s targets for reducing GHG emissions as outlined under the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Representing diverse companies manufacturing everything from metal, rubber, and textiles to consumer products, the online gathering heard from leading UNIDO experts Alfred Hartzenburg and Siraj Williams about cost-effective energy management systems that are quick to roll-out and have helped companies around the world to almost immediately cut their energy usage by up to 15 per cent. Through the new Project, Sri Lankan companies will gain support to adopt similar measures as part of a range of activities designed to help reduce emissions across this critical sector, which will also include deploying renewables.

Hartzenburg pointed out that the successful implementation of the Project will “usher in a new dawn in terms of energy for Sri Lanka”. He added that this would help reduce energy consumption, insulate against rising energy costs, mitigate the impact of grid constraints, and maintain global competitiveness. He reiterated the importance of top management’s role in prioritizing better energy performance in their organizations. This requires committing to the change, planning the change, and checking the results.

Williams highlighted that: “Understanding how we use our energy and making changes is something we can all do from within, and this is extremely timely for Sri Lanka. Saving energy means saving rupees and reducing our carbon footprint”.

The Accelerating Industries’ Climate Response in Sri Lanka project is a 5-year initiative. It is a key part of the Government’s effort to cut the greenhouse gas emissions coming from the industry by 7 per cent of the business-as-usual scenario by 2030. Achieving this reduction is a cornerstone of the Government’s international commitment to mitigating climate change, as set out in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), while also putting the country’s industrial sector on a modern clean-energy path. The Project focuses on trialing technology and training for people working in industry and government, also bolstering the system needed for monitoring GHG emissions and emissions reduction across the sector, and creating a policy environment that will accelerate decarbonization in Sri Lanka’s manufacturing sector. The Project collaborates with the National Cleaner Production Centre to deliver training on Energy Management Systems and Energy System Optimization in manufacturing industries.

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