Prof. Priyantha Wijayatunga
Director, South Asia Energy Division at Asian Development Bank
"High Level Technologies in Energy Sector Development in Asia-Pacific "
Priyantha D C Wijayatunga holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Moratuwa Sri Lanka and a Doctorate in Power Economics from Imperial College London where he was a Beit Scientific Research Fellow. He joined the Asian Development Bank in 2008 and he is currently the Director, South Asia Energy Division. He has contributed extensively in energy sector policy and regulatory activities over 25 years and has co-authored over 75 publications. He was the founder Director General of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka and a key contributor to the Sri Lanka Electricity Act 2009 and Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority Act 2007. He was a lead author of the Sri Lanka Energy Policies and Strategies. He was also a Senior Professor of Electrical Engineering and the Chairman of South Asia Forum for Infrastructure Regulation. He is a Member of Institute of Engineering Technology (IET), London, a Chartered Electrical Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka. Also he is a Senior Member of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), US.
Socio-economic progress in the developing nations is strongly coupled with their energy sector development. With the increasing social and environmental concerns and in particular those relating to local pollution and climate change, in the recent years the efforts in the energy sector have been directed increasingly towards clean energy interventions. This encompasses improving both supply side and demand side energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. Large scale deployment of renewable energy and strong emphasis on energy efficiency needs increasing use of the latest and high-level technologies. These technologies would help to provide adequate flexibility in energy systems to accommodate various measures to optimize resource utilization and large-scale deployment of intermittent renewable energy based supplies such as wind and solar power.
The major advantage of the energy systems in developing countries have, is the opportunity to leapfrog in deployment of these technologies. In this regard, multilateral institutions like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) can play an important role. It can support increasing awareness on these technologies among its developing member countries, provide opportunities to pilot those technologies to increase confidence in deploying them and later provide investment support. Also, capacity development in the relevant institutions to install, operate and maintain these systems with high-level technologies is a critical element in which ADB support can be provided. ADB has established several trust funds to support such activities. Among them are (i) Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility (ii) Japan Fund for Joint Crediting Mechanism and (iii) High-Level Technology Fund. Some of the recent ADB support includes latest energy storage and energy management systems, urban and rural mico-grid pilot projects, mobile technology based business models and energy sharing in small solar home systems, floating solar power systems, smart electricity metering and renewable energy dispatch control systems.
Deployment of high-level technologies is an increasing need in energy systems in developing countries if these countries are to leap-frog in its energy sector development to satisfy rapidly expanding energy needs with acceptable reliability and with minimum adverse social and environmental impacts. All the stakeholders need to embrace this need and take effective steps to address it for the benefit of future generations.