The Scots use Wind Power: We ignore it.
Posted on August 21st, 2018

Garvin Karunaratne Ph.D. Michigan State University

Is it not sad when we can get Wind Power at five cents we are paying over 25 cents.

 On my drive to Scotland this morning,  14 th August 2018, the scene that struck my eyes was how the Scots have harnessed Wind Power to produce Energy. As I entered Scotland it was at first a stray Wind Power Turbine. But gradually the number grew and at times it looked as if I was surrounded by these Giant Turbines, not dozens but fifty giants at a time, all turning energy.

In Sri Lanka unfortunately, the authorities built two Wind Power Units at Hambantota, an area where there is no Wind Power, perhaps to prove the point that wind power is not feasible, as there is no other possible excuse. Thereafter too some foreign experts were brought down to assess and find where there was wind power and what wind could they find within the luxury rooms of Four and Five Stars- they too supported the theory that we do not have wind power. I have worked in Hambantota and the Southern Province for years and have also worked in the Hilly Districts where we have had  to grapple with the mighty force of the Wind.

Sri lanka has an Administrative Service, a core of hardened patriotic officers and they have braved the winds in their inspections. I happened to be one of them for eighteen long years and let me tell you my experience.

I spent a few nights at the Ohiya  Circuit Bungalow. I think it was the Survey Department, but what I know for definite is that I hardly slept those few nights for fear that my car, a Peugoet 203 would be blown over. Luckily the 203 Peugeot is a sturdy car and it withstood the blowing.

Again I can recall my irrigation inspections in the Kegalla and Nuwara Eliya Districts. On many a hill I had to cling onto trees and shrubs to avoid being blown off.

There is enough Wind Power at Madugoda on the Mahiyangana Road from Kandy, in the Hayes stretch on Sinharaja, in theRamboda area, at Haputale and Ella and my words will be substantiated by the many Divisional Secretaries who have experienced  being blown off.

I do not hold an engineering degree but have handled construction work, supervising engineers. I can make a firm statement that through building Wind Turbines our country can be self sufficient in all our Power requirements. That need not take decades. Find a JV Fonseka or a Niel Bandaranaike, the stalwarts of the Administrative Service that controlled the Land Development Department- the Department that built the Colonization Schemes,  Or find a M.P Jayasinghe who built paddy stores for the Agrarian Services, over night_-_ I happened to have worked with MP. JVF and Niel have departed from our shores  and I have not heard of MP. But their likes- experienced and able administrators are with us. We can build  a few hundred Turbines within two years and become self sufficient. Trust out engineers and administrators.

I have substantiated this fact again and again, But the mandarins either fail to understand or due to some other factor ruled out Wind Power Turbines. I would like anyone to type my name on the internet and add “Papers on Wind Power” to read the half dozen Papers I have written, all to no purpose.

Let me close by stating something to open the eyes of our planners. Take the Kotmale dam. It provides power at a massive cost of Rs. 44  billion. It does not provide any water for irrigation. An entire Division Secretaries Area- Kotmale  was declared for the Project- tens of hundreds of people were uprooted and thrown out of the area. Their verdant land was in full bloom- I worked in the Nuwara Eliya Districts and I knew the area. That was ethnical cleansing- the Sinhala people were thrown  out of the Nuwara Eliya District. I can state without any reservation whatsoever that the output of the Kotmale dam-  201 MW  could have been produced by the construction of only  50 Wind Turbines. Each Turbine  can turn out 5 MW. now. These Turbines could have been scattered in the Estates in  the Kotmale Valley . The people and the verdant land in full bearing would have been spared.

Over to the mandariuns in our Power House Ministry. Please rethink your strategies. Go to stay a night at the Ohia Circuit Bungalow and see for yourself. Go to Madugoda  get down from your air conditioned vehicles and walk a while to sense the power of the Wind..

Find out how the USA and Spain have harnessed the power of the Wind. In both countries there are hillocks with a thousand Turbines. They are hillocks- not like our mountains. In fact on my world wide travels, when I first saw the hundreds of Turbines turning out Power at the Altarmont Pass in California, I was so amazed that I parked my car and gazed mesmerized for over fifteen minutes, wondering as to how Sri Lanka can benefit from Wind Power. Then I wrote and wrote- The Island and the Daily Mirror editors were kind to publish them.  None in the portals of Ministries ever  read them. It was only a stray Noor Nizam  that commented and congratulated me. Thanks to him for reading my Papers.

Let our leaders open their eyes. Mother nature has provided us assets. It is our failure not to harness the resources.

Garvin Karunaratne

Ph.D. Michigan State University

7 Responses to “The Scots use Wind Power: We ignore it.”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    I HAVE SEEN A CYCLIST GET BLOWN OFF HIS CYCLE AND FALL ONTO THE GROUND AT HUNNASGIRIYA. THATS CLOSE TO MADUGODA.

  2. dhane Says:

    Garvin your idea is good but very unlikely it will implemented. When you are in Sri Lanka as Admirative Officer there were honourable Politicians, Administrative Officers, Engineers, Doctors etc who worked for the country without looking ways and means to earn money. That period is gone for you & me will never see that beautiful and peaceful Sri Lanka. Today most of the Politicians, Administrative Officers, Engineers, Doctors comes into the position to make quick money for next few generations. By introducing Wind or Solar power there is no need to call Tenders to supply day to day needed raw materials like coal, fuel etc. Need only maintenance the plants. Therefore our present day politicians will never consider these ideas.

  3. Christie Says:

    What will happen when we interfere with nature the flow of air and water vapor?

    Who thought extracting energy from burning carbon will lead the so called Climate Change?

    I travelled a lot in Scotland in the eighties and I was baffled by the village and town names that were exactly the same as our Tea and Rubber Plantations.

  4. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    dhane

    There is nothing in the politicians from this. So it will not take off.

  5. aloy Says:

    Thank you Dr.Garvin for your article. I read them whenever you write. But it seems no body in relevant ministries seem to read them.
    Not only wind power, we have the second best gene pool according to some researches. But they only serve the other countries. That is why we are spread out all over the world. Our colonial powers and neighbor made sure that only their puppets are allowed to rule us.

    When can we break the shackles?.

  6. nilwala Says:

    GarvinK has an important point.. we ignore the energy resources we specifically have available.
    The ancients in fact used “WIND POWER” of the Monsoon winds hitting the central mountains for generating the high temperature kilns used for the casting of the famous “Damascene Steel”, for which the island was famous.
    Today we ought to turn to SOLAR POWER rather than have this endless argument about COAL which everybody knows is the most environmentally damaging of the available sources. Subsidies by the Govt. should enable every house and every industrial building to have Solar. Innovation in this area should be given top encouragement. As the sun gets hotter, SOLAR power should get cheaper!!

  7. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    WIND POWER CAN BE USED TO TURN AN ALTERNATOR TO PRODUCE ELECTRICITY.

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