Sri Lanka is set to meet it’s current and future electricity demand by a transformation to 100% renewable energy by 2050, according to a study by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). ADB’s Priyantha Wijayatunga and UNDP’s Alexandra Soezer reiterated that this will activate several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sri Lanka is one of the member countries of the 43 Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and though impacted disproportionally by climate change, the country is willing to take bold steps to combat it. The CVF countries reportedly committed to plot a clear path to the future for surviving and thriving and achieving 100% renewable generation by 2050 at the 22nd Climate Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2016. Sri Lanka is reportedly taking active steps to meet its Marrakesh pledges by developing a comprehensive pathway to meet its renewable energy target by 2050.
The joint study by UNDP and ADB has found relevant lessons that are expected to help other CFV member countries to reach their targets. The findings include an opportunity gap caused by a lack of communication and coordination between policy makers announcing low carbon targets and the national agencies who have to achieve them. There was a need felt to bridge this gap to realise the full potential of renewable energy.
The SDGs which would be positively impacted by a shift towards renewable energy include reducing air pollution from conventional energy and enhancing climate resilience (SDG13). Also included are the raising of economic productivity creating more jobs (SDG8) by developing robust ancillary industry, and driving international and national collaboration among renewable energy market players (SDG17), and more.
The report focuses on the sustainable development benefits of environmental targets and has reportedly not assessed the financial implications of various sustainable development impacts. Further transformation studies towards 100% renewable energies would reportedly need to focus on mainstreaming green technologies into conventional financing by linking the loan instruments to environmental impacts that can be measured.