Dr. Priyantha Wijayatunga, former Director General of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) and a Senior Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Moratuwa, has been appointed as Director South Asia Energy Division of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Dr. Wijayatunga holds a Doctorate in Power System Economics from the Imperial College London, where he was on Beit Scientific Research Fellowship of Imperial College. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering with First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa in 1986.
He joined the University of Moratuwa as an Assistant Lecturer in 1986 and moved up to become a Professor of Electrical Engineering in 2001. When he left the university, he was a Senior Professor of Electrical Engineering. He was also an Academic Visitor at the Imperial College London during the period 1993-1998 and has contributed to research involving electricity transmission networks of the United Kingdom and Chile. During his tenure in the University of Moratuwa, while supporting development of university education in various forms, he contributed immensely to the development of the energy sector both in Sri Lanka and outside.
At the requested of the university, he spearheaded the establishment of the Faculty of Information Technology (IT) at the University of Moratuwa in 2001, the only one in the country at the time, and became the first Dean of the Faculty. During this period, as a member of the Standing Committee on IT in the University Grants Commission, he initiated the efforts to expand university IT education for students outside the mathematics stream.
With the establishment of the PUCSL in 2003, the commission invited Dr. Wiayatunga to take over the administration as its first Director General, a position which he held until he joined the ADB. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Ceylon Electricity Board and Sustainable Energy Authority, Sri Lanka. He has contributed extensively in energy sector policy and regulatory activities having co-authored over 75 publications.
He was a lead author of the Sri Lanka Energy Policies and Strategies 2007/08 and was closely involved in drafting the Electricity Act 2009 and Sustainable Energy Authority Act 2007. Dr. Wijayatunga has been a strong supporter of regional energy cooperation in South Asia and has actively contributed to related investment projects and studies involving South Asia financed by the USAID and ADB over the last 15 years and in particular as the focal point for regional cooperation in South Asia at the ADB. During his stay at the PUCSL, he was a member of the Steering Committee on India – Sri Lanka Electricity Grid Interconnection and a Chairman of the South Asia Forum for Infrastructure Regulators (SAFIR).
He is a Chartered Electrical Engineer, a Member of the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET), UK, Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), US and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka. He is Past President of the Sri Lanka Energy Managers’ Association (SLEMA). Dr. Wijayatunga joined the ADB as an Energy Specialist and was later promoted to Senior Energy Specialist and Principal Energy Specialist.
He also held the position of Unit Head, Portfolio Management at the ADB Nepal Resident Mission for a short period. During the last 18 months of his stay in the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, he has been providing extensive support to all energy sector operations in the ADB while being actively involved in knowledge solutions.