Rural Biomass Electrification Initiative

In Sri Lanka, the supply of electricity to the rural people has proven a challenging, socioeconomic, exercise. Village level generation of power from renewable sources in addition to micro-hydro that requires a specific environment can be a sustainable alternative. Whether it is possible for such systems to be financed and operated by the communities needs to be investigated in practice. Two pilot systems were set up for this purpose by Lalith Seneviratne and his team, a solar/wind system and a biomass system respectively. The experience of biomass power has not been just the replacement of the thermal energy derived from imported fuels, but also a totally new exercise in where and how, sustainably, to grow and harvest the trees identified for each of the agro-climatic regions. Environmentally it has demonstrated the remarkable ability to restore to lush green forest much of the lands eroded by misapplied agricultural practices. Thus proving the prospects for re-greening and reforestation.