Environmentalists protest against Adani wind farm
Posted on March 15th, 2024

Courtesy The Island

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Sri Lankan environmental groups are intensifying their campaign against the proposed Adani wind farm in Mannar. They have accused the Sri Lankan political parties of having ignored the the disastrous environmental, social and economic implications of the Adani wind farm to be established in Mannar.

Prominent among the senior environmentalists and scientists opposing the Adani project are Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda and senior environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardena.

In an interview with The Island, Dr. Pethiyagoda said: We see a foreign company coming to Sri Lanka literally out of the blue, harnessing our wind energy, which is a sovereign national resource, and then selling it back to us for foreign currency over a fixed 25-year contract. How does this make economic sense? If the government called for bids from local companies, Sri Lankan shareholders would have had a chance to invest. That way we don’t bleed foreign currency, and what’s more, there’s tax revenue as well. What is the logic in giving this on a platter to a foreign company?”

Studies have shown that Mannar Island is among the most important bird areas in Asia, and perhaps the world. Every winter, millions of birds representing more than 120 species, come from all over the northern hemisphere. Some come from as far away as the Arctic Circle, flying over the Himalayas. This is therefore a hugely important conservation site, with huge potential for tourism.”

Gunawardena said that environmentalists were fighting a lone battle against the establishment of a wind farm in a sensitive environmental and strategic area.Gunawardena said that once a country entered into an agreement with a multinational, extrication becomes difficult.

This is why we must put pressure on the government and prevent this project,” he said.

Mannar was not an area that has a high potential for wind power, Gunawardana said.

A study conducted by the Sustainable Energy Authority a few years ago found that at best the wind power potential in Mannar was medium, he said.

Then why would a company want to build a wind farm there?” he asked.

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