The European Union supports Sri Lanka’s Industries to curb their Energy Use

Internationally recognized energy management training begins in Colombo today, involving some of Sri Lanka’s biggest industrial energy users, energy consultants and relevant government departments.

Colombo, 17 October 2022 – As Sri Lanka continues to face a crippling energy crisis, around 70 representatives from large manufacturing companies, energy consultancies, and government departments began a one-year journey to kick-start a new era of industrial energy efficiency across the country. Supported by the European Union-funded project ‘Accelerating Industries’ Climate Response in Sri Lanka’, this effort has the potential to improve national energy security and help the country meet its climate goals in the coming years.

“Our manufacturing sector provides income for 30 per cent of the nation’s workforce. This recent energy crisis, coupled with the global climate crisis, compels us to future-proof this critical cornerstone of our economy by moving away from fossil fuels. Practical things like reducing industrial energy waste is exactly what we need to do now,” said Ms. Thilaka Jayasundara, Secretary, Ministry of Industries.

There is considerable potential for reducing industrial energy waste in Sri Lanka’s manufacturing sector by deploying cost-effective technology and management practices. To harness this potential, over the next 12 months, the National Cleaner Production Centre and two leading United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) trainers will guide this first group of around 70 energy savers through an internationally recognized training course on Energy Management Systems (EnMS).

“The course covers global best practices, but also takes participants out of the classroom into their work environments where together we develop energy management systems that are tailored to each company’s needs. This means that the end result is sustainable,” said Nicholas Dehod, UNIDO Project Manager. “The ultimate goal is to encourage more and more companies to follow this first group’s lead and harness the full potential of improving industrial energy efficiency here in Sri Lanka.”

By the end of the one-year course, participating companies can expect to be on-track to slash up to 25 per cent from their energy bills. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka will have a new cohort of energy consultants able to advise more companies on how to reduce energy waste and save money.

“We need to harness the potential in global markets for low-emission technologies and sustainable products across all industrial value chains in order to achieve climate neutrality. In the context of today’s economic crisis in Sri Lanka, achieving energy security and efficiency is vital for industries in this country. The EU is also an important export market for Sri Lanka and I believe that one of the most effective ways we can help enhance Sri Lanka’s resilience to climate change, is by supporting the industrial sector to decarbonize and prepare itself to meet future global market demands,” said the EU’s Head of Cooperation, Ms Jenny Correia Nunes.

The EnMS training is part of the ‘Accelerating Industries’ Climate Response in Sri Lanka’ project. This 5-year, €7.56-million initiative is funded by the EU’s Global Climate Change Alliance+ (GCCA+). It is implemented by UNIDO, while the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Industries, and the Ministry of Power and Energy are the lead government counterparts. The project is a cornerstone of the Sri Lankan Government’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions in the industrial sector by 7 percent by 2030 according to its updated (2021) Nationally Determined Contributions1.

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Notes to Editors

Sri Lanka relies heavily on imported fossil fuel to meet its growing energy demand – a heavy burden on dwindling forex reserves. In 2019, imported fossil fuels, such as petroleum (43.9 percent) and coal (11.5 percent) supplied more than half of demand. As a result, the country has one of the highest average costs of power generation among countries in the region and has become more exposed to the volatility of international energy prices and markets.

The Accelerating Industries’ Climate Response in Sri Lanka project focuses on 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.

An Energy Management System (EnMS) is a framework for energy consumers including industrial, commercial and public sector organizations to manage their energy use. UNIDO has a long history of delivering technical advice and practical support for the implementation of EnMS worldwide.

UNIDO’s comprehensive 18-month training programme takes participants beyond the classroom and guides them through a hands-on-process of action planning, implementation and continuous energy saving improvements. By the end of the training, host companies and participating organizations gain an energy management system that is uniquely tailored to their needs. This includes specialised tools developed by UNIDO, a dedicated energy policy as well as baseline metrics and data, which helps energy management teams stay on track and ultimately achieve their energy saving targets long into the future.

In the run up to COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to raise awareness and ensure an ambitious global response to climate change is adopted, the European Union has launched the Climate Diplomacy Weeks between September and October. The central theme for the 2022 Climate Diplomacy Weeks is on energy savings, energy efficiency and acceleration of renewables. Saving energy is the quickest and cheapest way to address the current energy crisis, while scaling-up renewable energy and energy efficiency will give a boost to the green transition and reduce greenhouse gases while improving energy security. We would like to join forces with our partner countries to promote such an approach worldwide, in line with the European Union’s new External Energy Strategy.

The International Energy Agency calculates that with the right energy efficiency policies, the world can achieve more than 40 per cent of the emissions cuts needed to reach international climate goals using cost-effective technologies which are already available.

When it comes to the environment, the widespread adoption of energy efficiency measures could reduce industrial energy use by over 25 per cent. This potential is a significant reduction of 8 per cent in the global energy use and 12.4 per cent reduction in global CO2 emissions.

1Unconditional targets are declared based on financial and technical resources already present in the country. To achieve conditional targets requires external financial and technical support.