The Power Game: How we get bluffed.
Posted on December 23rd, 2016
By Garvin Karunaratne
In my endless travels in countries in three continents, the only country where wind turbines have been continuously sited in the coastal areas happens to be Sri Lanka. In Lanzorette in theCanaries, firstly the authorities built two turbines on the coast, but later they realized their mistake and built up dozens of turbines inland, on their hills. Unfortunately they do not have mountains. In Spain and in the USA where I frequently undertake road travel, I have seen them using the mountain power of the wind to turn their turbines. There are hundreds , even thousands of wind turbines located on mountains.
We are the loser. While countries like Spain have harnessed the mountain wind power and even sell power to France, Sri Lanka lags behind. Last year, being inquisitive, I purpously went to Kalpitiya to spend a night to assess the wind power there. It was nothing other than a coastal breeze. I have in the Administrative Service worked for long in Hambantota and Matara and know the power of the coastal breeze. It is nothing compared with what I have experienced at Ramboda, ,at Madugoda, at Kadugannawa in my almost weekly visits when I did work in Nuwara Eliya, Kegalla and Kandy. That was on the road side. In my irrigation inspections climbing hill and dale, I know that the wind has an enormous power at vantage points. We have had to crawl on all fours to avoid being blown off. When I stayed a night at the Ohio Forest Circuit bungalow I was worried that my car will be blown over. Yet we keep building turbines on the coast, and this time it is at Mannar! I gather that some foreign experts are sought to find our wind power. These days not only foreign experts, but even the famous IMF acted clandestinely to make our countries indebted. The IMF told us to import freely, use foreign exchange freely when we did not have and fed us with loans to match, so that we became indebted. They even gave us loans at very low interest and also with long no payment grace periods to entice us and our then leaders jumped at getting loans as they would not be in office when repayment would haunt us. My latest book, “How the IMF Sabotaged Third World Development” on Kindle tells that sad story.
May our leaders find the time to read John Perkin’s book Confessions of an Economic Hit man, where he admits that his role as a foreign expert was to research, fabricate facts and figures to provide foreign aid to Ecuador for a plan that in some manner will send the aid funds back to the donor countries while at the same time leaving the host country indebted. AId now came to our countries to make us indebted so that we could forever be in debt, paying our loans. Some one is trying to prove that wind power is not worth and that we cannot get power. Of course we cannot get power unless we harness the wind at the spots where it is. And to find where the wind is most we now get foreign experts. Can’t we rely on our own officers who sometimes get blown off on their circuits.
In wind turbines, we are made to grope in the dark. We turned wind power at some figure like twenty five rupees a kw/hr, when the USA gets wind power at between five cents and two and a half cents a kw/ hour.. When recently some wind power makers offered us power at fifteen rupees our mandarins were surprised.
Recently Power Expert, my friend Tilak Siyambalapitiya has said that we are heading for power cuts in 2017.
All what I have said in my wind power papers yet stand true They are in Lanka Web , the Daily News and Asian Tribune for anyone interested to read
We need only a few hundred wind turbines sited at Ohio, Ramboda, Madugoda, at Ritigala, at Batalgala in Kegalla District, at Kirigalpotta in Ratnapura and Hayes in Matara. We should set up a “ Land Development Department” once again and appoint an officer of the calibre of J.V.Fonseka, a classic hons. Civil servant and the task can be easily done in a year. That was the manner that our leaders, D.S. and Dudley worked then. At a Government Agents Conference a G.A. had requested for a jeep per District to speed up the Food Production Campaign. Dudley ordered three jeeps per district. Later I was a chief lieutenant under JVF at Agrarian Services and we did make large stores in double quick time. One engineer and Land Development Officer M.P.Jayasinghe recruited as Assistant Commissioner of Agrarian Services did that trick. We in the Districts went around with a hammer to hit at concrete to see whether the concrete mixture was right. One contractor had to redo all the foundations. It was a blow that made him die. That happened in Anutradhapura.
A few hundred wind turbines is the answer and I am sure there will be able officers in the Administrative and Engineering Services who can do that task. It will be a Program that offers employment to thousands. We can say good bye to power cuts and see our workers at work on hillocks installing wind turbines. We will also save millions of dollars that we spend today for importing oil.
Former Government Agent Matara