Sri Lanka Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources, energy and environment

Sri Lanka’s most important natural resource is precious stones, of which diamonds are most important for exports. Almost half of the energy and electricity consumption is covered by imported oil. The environmental problems are primarily about deforestation and soil degradation.

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s leading producers of gemstones such as rubies, sapphires and topazes. The largest buyers are in the US, Japan, Europe and Thailand. It is believed that a large number of gemstones are also smuggled out of the country.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Sri Lanka with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

In addition, graphite and the titanium mineral ilmenite are extracted for commercial purposes. The country also has limestone, quartz, mica, clay, salt, titanium, monasite, zircon, uranium and iron.

In addition to imported oil, energy is mainly extracted from domestic firewood and residual products from agriculture, and to a small extent from hydropower. Electricity is generated mainly from imported oil, but also from coal, hydropower and wind power. In 2011, the country’s first and only coal-fired power plant was commissioned. Sri Lanka has no nuclear power plants.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, SL stands for Sri Lanka. Visit itypeusa for more information about Sri Lanka.

Almost all (95 percent) of the Lankes have access to electricity.

Sri Lanka has problems with both illegal logging and land destruction, which in turn can trigger landslides. Some watercourses and beaches are polluted by emissions from industries and uncleaned wastewater. In urban and industrial areas, air pollution occurs.


Energy use per person

516 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

531 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

18 394 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

0.9 tonnes (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

52.9 percent (2015)



Temporary budget is adopted

December 21

In order to avoid Sri Lanka being left without a state budget after the turn of the year, Parliament approves a transitional budget for the first four months of 2019, so that the country can, for example, pay off debt. An ordinary state budget for the entire 2019 is expected to be completed in February.

New Old Government

December 20

President Sirisena appoints a new government with 30 members. Prime Minister is Ranil Wickremesinghe. Sirisena retains the post of Minister of Defense and control of the police force. Wickremesinghe’s former Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs are returning their positions.

Wickremesinghe again prime minister

December 16th

As a result of the ruling in the Supreme Court on December 13, Mahinda Rajapaksa surrenders her claim to the Prime Minister’s post, and Ranil Wickremesinghe is re-installed as the head of government.

HD: “Sirisena violated the Constitution”

13th of December

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Sirisena’s decision on November 9 to dissolve Parliament and announce fresh elections was contrary to the Constitution. According to the constitution, the president can announce new elections only after Parliament has spent 4.5 years of the five-year term, which expires in August 2020. The UNP welcomes the decision as a victory for democracy.

The state budget for 2019 is missing

December 12

The Minister of Finance warns that the entire state apparatus will cease on January 1, 2019, as there is no state budget after the turn of the year. On the same day, Parliament voted, for the second time, for Wickremesinghe to be re-elected as Prime Minister. In the vote, only members of his UNP with allied parties are present. The supporters of Rajapaksa boycott the vote.

Court rejects Rajapaksa

December 3

A higher court ruled that Rajapaksa is not empowered to act as prime minister as long as his disputed government cannot prove its legitimacy.


The cash flow to the government is stifled

November 30

Parliament is voting to hold all money transfers to the Government Offices and Ministries to have control over the country’s crisis economy itself. Exceptions are made for salary payments, pensions and basic community service. A day earlier, the largest Tamil party announced the Tamil National Alliance that it supported Wickremesinghe’s demand to regain the post of prime minister.

Both heads of government are rejected

November 23

Parliament President Jayasuriya announces that he will reject both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe as head of government and appoint a committee to decide on the legislative agenda. The members present are voting to give Wickremesinghe the chairmanship of the committee. All supporters of Sirisena and Rajapaksa boycott the vote.

New distrust of Rajapaksa

November 16

Parliament for the second time makes a declaration of disbelief against Rajapaksa as new prime minister.

Fight in Parliament

November 15

Fighting breaks out during a session in Parliament. Members from different political camps throw things at each other and hand out fist beats. A person is taken to hospital with minor injuries. The President adjusts the session temporarily until the emotions have cooled down among the members.

Rajapaksa is voted off

November 14

Parliament gathers and declares a distrust of Rajapaksa as prime minister. Thus falls his government. That does not mean that Wickremesinghe will automatically become head of government because President Sirisena is the one who appoints it. Sirisena rejects Parliament’s vote of no confidence and says that the vote was not properly conducted.

HD reinstates Parliament

November 13

The Supreme Court enters into the power struggle between on the one hand Parliament and Wickremesinghe, on the other hand President Sirisena and Rajapaksa when it annuls the presidential decree dissolving Parliament. Thus, the Legislative Assembly can hold a vote on the Prime Minister.

Sirisena announces new elections

November 9

President Sirisena dissolves Parliament and announces new elections until January 5, 2019. In this way, he avoids a vote in Parliament on the Prime Minister’s post, and Rajapaksa can lead a transitional government until January 17, when a new parliament will meet. The decision was made after Sirisena admitted that Rajapaksa would not succeed in gathering enough support in a vote, and that Wickremesinghe would receive the most votes. Wickremesinghe’s party UNP says that Sirisena violates the constitution when he dissolves Parliament and adds that the party will request that the decision be tried legally. Before Sirisena disbanded Parliament, he took control of the police by organizing it under the Ministry of Defense and over the State Information Agency publishing presidential decrees and proclamations and more.


Increased support for Wickremesinghe

October 31st

Tens of thousands of supporters of Wickremesinghe and the UNP manifest their support through a peaceful demonstration in Colombo. At the same time, the outside world is increasing pressure on President Sirisena to reinstate Parliament. The country’s Chancellor Jayantha Jayasuriya refuses the Sirisenas dismissal of Wickremesinghe on the grounds that the president lacks the power to do so.

Appointed minister is arrested for shooting dead

October 31st

The recently deposed oil minister Ranatunga is arrested after union representatives accused him of ordering his bodyguards to shoot at a crowd outside the state oil company on October 28. One man was killed. The minister says the crowd attacked him and his staff and tried to take him hostage. Trade unions in the oil industry go on strike.

Incomplete government is presented

October 29th

President Sirisena presents an incomplete government with only twelve ministers. Rajapaksa is appointed Prime Minister as well as Finance Minister. This government promises quick cuts in taxes and lower fuel prices with more goods. Both camps are trying to co-negotiate with MPs to secure a victory in a vote on the Prime Minister’s post when Parliament opens again on November 16.

Wickremesinghe receives Parliament’s support

October 28

Parliament President Karu Jayasuriya announces that the Legislative Assembly continues to regard Wickremesinghe as the rightful prime minister, on the grounds that the president has no power to dismiss the head of government. Wickremesinghe is barricaded in its service room and more than 1,000 followers have gathered outside the building. One person is killed and two injured when the newly deposed oil minister’s bodyguards shoot at a crowd trying to prevent the minister from entering the state oil company building. The United States calls on Sirisena to reinstate Parliament. Privately owned newspapers describe Sirisena’s actions as a “constitutional coup”. Rajapaksa says his ambition is to hold local and general elections “as soon as possible”.

Parliament is dissolved

October 27th

President Sirisena will dissolve Parliament until November 16. This has happened since Wickremesinghe tried to get the UNP-dominated Assembly’s support to stay in his post. Wickremesinghe refuses to leave his office at the Government Office (Temple Trees). Sirisena deprives him of both service cars and bodyguard protection. From the outside world come reactions. India says it is “closely monitoring” the development of the event and Chinese representatives speak to both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa. Western diplomats hold talks with Wickremesinghe. The two TV stations forced by Rajapaksa supporters to stop broadcasting on October 26 resume broadcasting and now support Rajapaksa.

Power struggle leads to political crisis

October 26th

President Sirisena’s party UPFA leaves the government. Contrary to the constitution, Sirisena then dismisses Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the government. Sirisena replaces Wickremesinghe with President Rajapaksa, who is sworn in as new head of government. Wickremesinghe refuses to accept Sirisena’s decision, saying he continues to consider himself prime minister and stresses that only parliament can dismiss him. Finance Minister Samarawira describes the event as “an anti-democratic coup”. On the streets of Colombia, supporters of both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa gather. During the night, Rajapak supporters storm two TV stations which they consider to be UNP-friendly and force them to stop broadcasting. The United States calls on both sides to respect the Constitution and abstain from violence.

The victims of war are entitled to damages

October 10

Nearly a decade after the end of the war in spring 2009, Parliament adopts a law that gives civil war victims the right to compensation. An independent office will be set up to pay compensation to survivors and relatives of victims. President Rajapaksa’s political faction votes against the law, which they believe risks giving LTTE supporters or their survivors the right to compensation. Damage to the victims of the war was one of Sirisena’s promises when he was elected president in 2015. Nearly 100,000 people were killed in the civil war between the military and the Tamil LTTE guerrilla.


New money from the US

August 13th

The US announces giving Sri Lanka $ 39 million to strengthen security at sea in the Bay of Bengal. This is happening at the same time as China is investing large sums in the giant New Silk Road project, where Chinese loans are used to build ports and other infrastructure in Sri Lanka. The money from the United States is part of the US government’s commitment to a “free, open and legal order” in South and Southeast Asia, totaling $ 300 million.

New loan from China

August 6th

Sri Lanka’s central bank is granted a loan from China of the equivalent of one billion dollars. The loan is seen as yet another sign of Sri Lanka’s increasingly close contacts with China, particularly in terms of infrastructure development. The IMF, which gave Sri Lanka a $ 1.5 billion emergency loan in June 2016, has warned Sri Lanka to borrow more money as the country’s sovereign debt is alarmingly large. Just over a tenth of China’s foreign debt is $ 51.8 billion.


The death penalty should be applied to drug offenses

July 11

Sri Lanka will begin to apply the death penalty for drug offenses. This eliminates a 42-year-long halt to executions; the latest execution in Sri Lanka was executed in 1976. The country is also to use its army in the fight against drug traffickers. President Sirisena says it is the Philippines’ successful war on drugs that inspired these measures. Philippines President Duterte has waged a war on drugs since taking office in 2016. Thousands of people have been killed as they tried to escape arrest, and the country has been charged with crimes against humanity.

Contested move by naval base

July 4th

Sri Lanka moves a naval base to the port of Hambantota, which a Chinese company has leased for 99 years. The government rejects speculation that the move could mean that China is using the port for military purposes.


Sirisena is running for re-election

May 7

President Sirisena announced in a speech at a political meeting that he will stand for re-election to the 2019 presidential post, despite a previous statement that he does not want to remain after the current term of office expires.


Government crisis, Parliament dissolves

April 12

President Sirisena dissolves Parliament with immediate effect until May 8. The decision is made a few hours after at least 16 members of parliament, including six government ministers, announce that they are leaving government cooperation. All 16 defectors were allies to Sirisena in the power struggle with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who, following the victory in the vote of confidence, pushed for supporters of Sirisena to resign. Sirisena has replaced the ministers who have been defunct with new temporary ones.

The Prime Minister receives Parliament’s support

April 4th

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is able to pass a vote of confidence in Parliament by a good margin, despite the fact that 13 members of President Sirisena’s SLFP voted against him. SLFP is part of the government coalition together with Wickremesinghe’s UNP. The vote of confidence was initiated by Rajapaksa’s SLFP faction. Sirisena and Wickremesinghe are fighting a power struggle that is based, among other things, in different views on economic policy and in Sirisena’s attempt to extend his term of office by one year, which was stopped by the Supreme Court.


Sirisena reduces the prime minister’s power

March 28

President Sirisena limits Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s powers, including in contacts with the central bank and in political decision-making. The president’s actions are part of a growing power struggle between the two leaders.

The state of emergency is lifted

March 18th

The state of emergency, introduced throughout the country on March 6, is canceled by President Sirisena. It was the first time in seven years that a national emergency permit was introduced.

Calm back in Kandy

March 10

When calm returned to the city of Kandy after four days of anti-Muslim riots, three people were killed, some 20 were injured and some 500 Muslim homes, businesses and vehicles, as well as some 10 mosques have been severely burned or vandalized. The government cancels the curfew and promises an investigation into what has happened.

“Radical Buddhist Group Behind the Violence”

March 8th

After a quiet night, the curfew is lifted during the day. The Colombo Parliament apologizes to the country’s Muslim minority. However, occasional acts of violence are carried out. Petrol bombs are being thrown at a mosque south of Kandy, according to police. Among some 80 people arrested in connection with the violence are Amith Wirasinghe, leader of a radical Sinhalese-Buddhist group that has become notorious for attacks against Muslims. Wirasinghe is suspected of having organized and led the anti-Muslim riots in Kandy via social media.

Tear gas against the rattles in Kandy

March 7

A Sinhalese man is killed when the hand grenade he intends to throw detonates in his hand. About 10 people are injured when the grenade explodes. Soldiers and police are deployed on Kandy’s streets to curb the situation. Then more than 200 Muslim-owned homes, businesses and vehicles have been set on fire. Schools are closed. Access to the internet is restricted in Kandy and several social media sites are blocked to prevent the spread of rumors that block the violence. However, the ravages continue to rage, and the police respond to them with tear gas. Later in the day, President Sirisena visits Kandy.

An emergency permit is introduced throughout the country

6 March

The violence in Kandy and its surroundings is escalated when a Muslim man is found dead in a burnt-out building. On the same day, violence spreads to the eastern part of the country, where mosques and Muslim-owned businesses are set on fire after a rumor spread that a Muslim chef put contraceptives in food sold to Sinhalese. President Sirisena faces a state of emergency throughout Sri Lanka to give the police and military increased powers to stop the violence.

Violence outbreak against Muslims in Kandy

March 5th

A new outbreak of violence against the country’s Muslim minority erupts in the tourist city of Kandy in central Sri Lanka when the Buddhist majority learns that a Sinhalese man has been killed by a group of Muslims. Buddhist mobs give up on homes, shops and cars owned by Muslims.


The election loss leads to government reform

February 25th

The government’s big losses in the local elections earlier that month lead to a government transformation. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe takes over responsibility for law and order from the Interior Minister. The government interprets the electoral loss as criticism of the electorate for failing to bring charges against members of the former Rajapaksa government.

The government loses big in local elections

February 10

The two government parties UNP and UPFA lose big in local elections, while President Rajapaksa’s new party Sri Lankan People’s Front (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, SLPP) becomes the major victor and takes home 225 of the 340 seats in various local assemblies at stake. UNP gets 41 seats while President Sirisena’s SLFP faction gets 11 seats. The choice is described as the quietest in decades.

Special courts will investigate the Rajapaksa family

February 1st

The government sets up special courts with three judges in each who are commissioned to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption committed by the previous government under President Rajapaksa. The decision comes after the Sirisena government received more and more criticism for failing to fulfill the election promises on legal settlements with the previous government after three years in power. Two of Rajapaksa’s three sons have been charged with so-called money laundering and other relatives are accused of corruption. Rajapaksa himself is not among the suspects. He calls the criminal investigations against his family a witch hunt. The new special courts will be up and running by six months at the latest.


The Anti-Terrorism Act receives sharp criticism

January 23

In a report from the human rights organization Amnesty Internationalthe Lankan government is criticized for still using the PTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act), even though Sirisena already promised in 2015 to abolish the harsh laws and replace them with laws that comply with international standards and do not violate human rights. The PTA gives the police and security forces far-reaching powers to arrest and detain suspected terrorists for a long time without prosecution or trial. PTA was used extensively during the civil war that ended in 2009. According to the government, 80 people are being held in custody in accordance with PTA, but local human rights organizations say it is likely to involve several hundred interns. According to Amnesty International, PTA still causes Sri Lanka to commit torture, sexual abuse,

Coalition government on the verge of rupture

January 19

President Sirisena announces that he himself will take responsibility for the country’s economy from Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and his party UNP. Government cooperation between the UNP and the Sirisenas SLFP faction has been extremely strained in recent times, partly because the UNP opposed the Sirisenas attempt to extend its term of office by one year to 2021, which was rejected by the Supreme Court. Sirisena also recently vetoed the government’s decision to allow women to buy alcohol. The UNP has said that it will possibly run on its own in the 2020 election.

The president reintroduces a ban on women buying alcohol

January 14

Sri Lanka’s parliament decides to abolish an old law banning women from buying and selling alcohol, but a few days later the president stops the law change.

Sri Lanka Energy and Environment Facts

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