Curtin Colombo and IESL host Panel Discussion on Transition Pathways in Sri Lanka’s Energy Landscape

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Curtin Colombo, in collaboration with the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL), hosted a thought- provoking panel discussion titled ‘Energy Landscape of Sri Lanka: Transition Pathways’. The event took place on July 1, 2024, at the IESL Wimalasurendra Auditorium in Colombo.

Hosting the event, Curtin Colombo showcased the campus’s strengths and commitment to addressing important issues. In addition, it demonstrated Curtin Colombo as a forward-thinking, engaged, and knowledge hub for discussions. Collaborating with IESL, Curtin Colombo emphasized its strong connections with professional bodies and industry, highlighting relevance to the local engineering and energy sectors. 

The discussion addressed the current and future energy needs of Sri Lanka, exploring various pathways for energy transition in the country. An introductory presentation explained the basic principles of energy and thermodynamics in an accessible manner, setting the stage for a more detailed exploration of renewable energy options available to Sri Lanka.

Key topics covered the potential and current status of solar power in Sri Lanka, along with its benefits and challenges; Examination of potential wind energy sites, existing projects, and their advantages and hurdles; A review of Sri Lanka’s existing hydropower infrastructure, future potential, and the environmental impacts and benefits and the role of biomass as a renewable energy source, its availability, and sustainability.

In addition to exchanging views on these renewable energy sources, the panel analysed critical aspects of energy storage, distribution, and integration with the electricity grid. Sustainable building practices and community energy solutions were also highlighted, in addition to focusing on how buildings can be designed or retrofitted for greater energy efficiency. Discussion on community-level initiatives that promote sustainable energy use were addressed discussed, and insights probed into how local efforts can contribute to a more sustainable energy future.

Furthermore, the panel explored application of simulations for solar installations over urban areas, providing innovative examples into the practical implementation of renewable energy solutions in urban settings. 

Addressing topics such as sustainable building practices and community energy solutions demonstrated Curtin Colombo’s focus on practical, real-world applications of academic knowledge.

The event features distinguished panelists, including professors from Curtin University and other institutions. These speakers showcased the high-calibre academic network and international perspectives, underlining Curtin Colombo’s global connections and outlook.

Presenting views were Professor Sumedha Rajakaruna: Professor at Curtin University, expert in renewable energy sources, energy storage, and smart energy systems, and Professor Sambit Datta: Dean International of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Curtin University, specializing in computational design and spatio-temporal interactions between distributed energy sources and buildings.

Adding to the analysis were Professor Vishnu Pareek: Dean of Engineering at Curtin University and President of the Australian Council of Engineering Deans, with expertise in energy foundations, thermodynamics, and fluid flow and Professor Asanka Rodrigo: Professor in Electrical Engineering at the University of Moratuwa and former Director General of the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority.

Providing expertise in energy engineering were Professor Janaka Ekanayake: Senior Professor at the University of Peradeniya, with extensive experience in renewable energy generation and integration and Professor Rahula Attalage: Pro Vice Chancellor Academic at the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) and Professor Emeritus at the University of Moratuwa, with 

Attendees included policymakers, industry professionals, academics, and concerned citizens indicating Curtin Colombo’s role as a facilitator of important discussions amongst the community. The discussions provided valuable understanding, an engaging and informative platform offering deep insights about innovative pathways leading towards a sustainable and resilient energy future for Sri Lanka. 

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