The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lent US$115mn to Sri Lankan energy projects that will see 100% electrification of the country’s grid.

The loan will be bolstered by grants worth US$3.8mn from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and the Clean Energy Financing Partnership and will finance a range of projects.

Among them will be the construction of renewable energy mini-grids, the improvement of electricity supply in areas impacted by the country’s long civil war, which destroyed substantial electricity infrastructure and those on three islands off the Jaffna coast in northern Sri Lanka.

Over 2,300km of low-voltage line extensions will be rolled out, as Sri Lanka looks to upgrade from 98% electrification. It has achieved that rate from 29% 25 years ago, which speaks to the rapid development of the South Asian island state.

The funding is for five years and the borrower is the Sri Lankan government. The renewable energy microgrid will be constructed in the country’s western province, and will combine wind, solar, efficient diesel energy, and long-life lithium ion batteries to provide electricity to remote communities. It is the first system of its type to be built in Sri Lanka.

“Sri Lanka’s national electrification rate has gone from 29% to 98% in the space of 25 years, but some areas particularly in former conflict-affected zones and on small isolated islands still struggle with an unreliable power supply,” says Mukhtor Khamudkhanov, principal energy specialist at the ADB.

He adds: “Small island communities are forced to use expensive, inefficient diesel generation sets that deliver only intermittent electricity supplies. The project will help meet the needs of areas that have been missing out through upgrades to the medium-voltage network, the rollout of over 2,300km of low-voltage line extensions, and the construction of hybrid renewable energy mini-grids.”