The first Swiss-Sri Lankan Business and Investment Forum titled "Sri Lanka - A land of a thousand and one opportunities" was held on 11th - 12th June 2012 in Zurich and Geneva. It was organized by the Sri Lanka Embassy to Switzerland resident in Berlin, Germany, Swiss-Asian Chamber of Commerce, Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services and Business Network Switzerland with the support of Holcim Ltd. of Holcim Group and Credit Suisse. The successful forum attracted over 130 interested delegates and was jointly headed by H. E. The Ambassador Sarrath Kongahage and Consul General Pradip Jayewardene. Hon. Gamini Lokuge, Minister of Labour who was visiting Geneva, Mr. Mark Dengel, Chairman of Sri Lanka Committee of Swiss Asia Chamber of Commerce, members of the Chamber and officials from Sri Lanka participated in the forum.
Focused on presenting the benefits of investing at this growth period in the high potential Sri Lanka market in several industries, there was special interest in renewable energy. Presenting the keynote speech, Consul General Pradip Jayewardene introduced his vision for achieving 100% renewable energy in Sri Lanka. He further gave an overall view, providing a balanced outlook as well as its challenges and opportunities. Speaking from his experience and the close involvement in the sector over the past 25 years, he mentioned that Sri Lanka had nearly 100% renewable energy in the past and it is a necessity to bring renewable energy usage back to 100% in face of dramatically increasing energy costs.
Mr. Jayewardene elaborated on issues related to generation systems, national energy policy declaration, energy production structure, current energy production, non-conventional renewable energy industry, technical constraints and the potential of wind- and solar power. Comparing solar, wind, heavy fuel and diesel as sources, he showed that over a 20-year period Sri Lanka could save nearly 100 Billion Euro using solar and wind power. He further stated that, "100% renewables must be seen as an investment scheme with a good return.Sri Lanka could produce significant amounts of power from waste if the appropriate technology was adopted. Most significant conclusion we can derive from our studies is that Sri Lanka has to implement renewable energy on an urgent basis. We have vast potential, current targets are insufficient and being reconsidered. Renewable energy has to be looked at as an investment."
The research for the presentation was assisted by the Institute for Applied Flow Material Management (IFAS) a.k.a. Environmental Campus in Birkenfeld which is part of the Trier University in Germany. IFAS is also helping the government of Sri Lanka to create the appropriate strategy for achieving 100% energy from renewables.