Varuna Kahakachchi

2024 IVLP Impact Award Project: Empowering Youth for a Sustainable Energy TransitionSri Lanka

Varuna Kahakachchi is an Assistant General Manager at a renewable energy firm in one of the leading private conglomerates in Sri Lanka, where he oversees the operation of several clean energy power plants. He holds an undergraduate degree in Renewable Energy Engineering and Sustainable Technologies with Honors, and a CertHE in Mechanical Engineering, which he completed in the United Kingdom.  
Varuna has worked on a number of local and international bidding preparations and submissions for design and implementation of renewable energy projects. The projects are designed to support Sri Lanka’s ambitious target of generating 70 per cent of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Recently, Varuna assisted with a proposal submitted to develop a 100 MW floating solar project in Samanalawewa reservoir, which the Ceylon Electricity Board shortlisted for further evaluation. 

IVLP Impact Award Project: Empowering Youth for a Sustainable Energy Transition 

Varuna’s project mobilizes and empowers young people across Sri Lanka to participate in the transition towards a greener and more sustainable energy landscape. By equipping youth with essential knowledge, skills, and opportunities, the project emboldens youth to envision a future where they play a central role in shaping a low-carbon, resilient society.  

Varuna anticipates the project will provide training to develop skills and knowledge for at least 100 youth in Southern and Central provinces of Sri Lanka (Kandy, Nuwaraeliya, Hambantota, Matara). It will include several workshops and field visits for school children and youth who are enthusiasts of the renewable energy sector. This program will accelerate the energy transition and foster community resilience and environment protection. 

"Organizing a Youth Empowerment program on Sustainable Energy transition in Sri Lanka can have profound impacts on both the youth and the broader community.” - Varuna Kahakachchi   

IVLP Exchange Experience  

Varuna participated in the IVLP Project: Renewable Energy as an Economic Driver, organized by the U.S. Department of State and American Councils for International Education in partnership with Boulder Council for International Visitors, Northern Nevada International Center, Sand Diego Diplomacy Council, World Affairs Council- Seattle, WorldDenver and the New York Program Branch.  

Varuna’s exchange experience led to the development of his project, which focuses on empowering youth to participate in the transition towards green energy. “During the IVLP, I visited Jack’s Solar Garden, located on the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado, which is far from an ordinary community garden...It serves as a model for sustainable energy, education, and community engagement. It empowers youth, fosters environmental stewardship, and demonstrates the harmonious coexistence of solar panels and agriculture. The insights gained from my visit to Jack’s Solar Garden and the recent IVLP experience on Renewable Energy for Economic Drive will significantly inform the design and implementation of a youth empowerment project in Sri Lanka.” 

“Participation in the IVLP Program has been a truly transformative experience... During my experience, I delved into the immense possibilities of renewable energies, such as solar, wind, and green hydrogen. I collaborated with an outstanding global team of professionals in the Renewable Energy field, and I am dedicated to implementing and promoting sustainable initiatives and sharing the valuable knowledge with youth in Sri Lanka.” - Varuna Kahakachchi   

U.S. Communities Visited 

San Diego, CA; Boulder, CO; Denver, CO; Washington, DC; Reno, NV; New York City, NY; Seattle, WA

Country: Sri Lanka 

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