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Cablegate: Input for New Required Reports to Congress On Energy

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0180 0520401
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210401Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7719

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000180

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

EEB/ESC/IEC FOR B. GLENN GRIFFIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG SENV APER ABUD CE
SUBJECT: INPUT FOR NEW REQUIRED REPORTS TO CONGRESS ON ENERGY

REF: SECSTATE 10743

The following are Embassy Colombo's replies to the questions in
reftel para 4:

-- A. The economic section and USAID handle energy matters. The
economic section has three officers and three foreign service
nationals (FSNs). The USAID section that handles energy has one FSN
dedicated to energy issues.

-- B. State: Ambassador: 1% of time. 1 economic officer: 10% of
time. 1 economic FSN: 10% of time. USAID: 1 FSN 100% of time.

-- C. In the economic section, the section chief and one FSN handle
energy-related issues. For Sri Lanka, most of our engagement
relates to two issues: Sri Lanka's offshore oil exploration
potential and its plans to build a new oil refinery. On the oil
exploration issue, we report on the exploration tender process, and
have tried to ensure that the process is competitive and
transparent. To this end, we have worked with the US Trade and
Development Agency (USTDA) and other USG agencies to organize
technical assistance for Sri Lanka's Petroleum Resources Development
Secretariat. On the refinery issue, we report on the government's

SIPDIS
plans for the new refinery and we advocate for the U.S. companies
that are interested in building it or doing related work. We also
periodically report on issues involving renewable energy, and assist
U.S. companies that may invest in that area. Economic section staff
have no specialized background related to energy issues.

For Maldives, the Embassy economic section has reported on and
assisted a newly-incorporated U.S. company using U.S. technology in
a $3 million pilot renewable energy project that it hopes to expand
to a $90 million investment throughout the country. We also manage
an $8.7 million tsunami reconstruction grant, which includes a $1.5
million component to repair and upgrade electrical power systems on
six islands.

Under the USAID SARI/Energy regional program, we have promoted a
dialog between the governments of Sri Lanka and India. They agreed
that an electrical inter-connection via submarine cable would
benefit their nations over the long-term. A steering committee
jointly chaired by the Ministry of Power, India, and the Ministry of
Power and Energy, Sri Lanka, and a Technical Coordination
Sub-Committee, were established to provide political support and to
address technical, commercial, legal and regulatory aspects of
transmission and exchange of power between two countries. The Asian
Development Bank (ADB) has offered to conduct a detailed feasibility
study on the India-Sri Lanka interconnection.

Concerning wind power development, the Ceylon Electricity Board
(CEB), the electricity utility of Sri Lanka, has signed Letters of
Intent (LOIs) with four commercial developers to build 34 MWs of
wind power on the island's west coast. This positive policy shift,
with CEB now allowing the private sector involvement in wind power
development, was achieved as a result of a well planned series of
USAID SARI/Energy initiatives, including: developing a wind atlas
for Sri Lanka; conducting technical studies and training CEB
engineers on issues related to grid stability; and developing
confidence among the CEB planning and operations engineers to
consider broader aspects of grid connected wind energy projects.

-- D. State Department funds spent by Embassy Colombo in FY 2007 on
energy-related activities are as follows:

-Personnel: Estimated $13,500
-Programs: Estimated $5,000

USAID funds spent in FY 2007 on energy-related activities are as
follows:

-Personnel: Estimated $ 57,000
-Programs: Estimated $ 800,000
(Funded through SARI/Energy regional program)
BLAKE

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