$ 24m Sino-Lankan venture involves farmers in green power generation

Monday, 22 January 2018 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

From Left: Samitha Senavirathne,Director of Green Watt pvt Ltd., Dr.XU Xingzhong,Chairman of Beijing Full Dimension, Jinawara Dharmawardhana,Director of IMS Holdings, Kou Lei,Vice President of NTC and Parakrama Jayasinghe, Director of Geotech shaking hand after the signing the MOU during of the joint venture of agreement for the First 10 MW Power Plant in Sri Lanka at Kalaweragama in Monaragala District – Pic by Gitika Talukdar

By P.K. Balachandran

Farmers in the draught-prone Moneragala District in the south of Sri Lanka will soon be joining a $ 24 million Sino-Lankan joint venture to generate 10 MW of green power every day to add 70,000 MW of renewable energy to the Sri Lankan national grid.

Jinawara Dharma-wardana, Chairman of IMS Holdings Ltd., a partner in the joint venture, told the media that farmers in the Kalawaaragama area would grow the Gliricidia Sepium tree, the wood of which will be bought by the joint venture ‘Green Watts’ to be used as fuel for power generation.

He claimed that the farmers supplying Gliricidia Sepium wood would be making Rs. 500 million ($ 3.2 million) per year as a result of the power plant.

The joint venture is between Sri Lankan and Chinese private sector companies. They are the Beijing Full Dimension Power Tech Company which is highly experienced in producing power from biomass; the Nanjing Turbine and Electric Machinery Group which is one of the largest steam turbine manufacturers in China and Green Watts Ltd. of Sri Lanka.

The joint venture agreement was signed on Thursday in the presence of all stakeholders and the media.

Explaining the reasons for choosing to opt for Gliricidia Sepium wood as the fuel rather than solar power to run the turbines in the power plant, Dharmawardana said that the primary mission of the company was to put money into the pockets of poor farmers in a backward, draught prone area of the island like Moneragala.

“Drawing energy from the sun may be cost-effective, but solar power generation would not put money into the poor farmer’s pocket. Buying Gliricidia wood from him would,” Dhamawadana said.

Furthermore, the scheme will encourage the planting of Gliricidia, promote sustainable agriculture, encourage livestock development and increase green cover in the dry south of Sri Lanka.

Large-scale cultivation of Gliricidia will also be possible given the fact that it is the fourth recognised plantation crop in Sri Lanka, Dharmawardana stated.

Beijing Full Dimension Power Tech Company Chairman Dr. Hu Xingzhong said that all the project details, both technical and administrative, were now in hand and that was why the agreement was being presently signed.

He said that the project was of “great significance” not only to the two partners but the two countries as well. Further, the project, which is a venture involving the private sectors of China and India, will pave the way for many more such private sector collaborative ventures, he added.

Dr. Hu described the project not just as a power generation project but as a “community development project”. He appreciated the dedication of the local Sri Lankan partners who have an abiding relationship with the rural community in this area.

The power plant will consist of six biomass boilers and three steam turbine generators as the core of the power generation system. The cooling system uses ground water supplemented by large-scale rain water collection.

All stack emissions will be cleared by state-of-the-art electro-static precipitators to meet the current emission standards of the Central Environment Authority. There is no liquid waste generated and the boiler blow down water and sewerage will be treated before being discharged.

The ash generated, being a source of fertility, will be collected and offered to the suppliers of fuel wood to enrich the soil in their farms.

The plant is expected to be in operation by the end of September this year.

The plant will help fulfill Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s pledge to build dendro (biomass) power stations throughout the country so that electricity consumers’ money which hitherto filled the coal and oil mafia will flow into the pockets of the rural masses.

“I will gradually remove all subsidies now given for fossil fuel and hand them over to obtain renewable energy technology. In this way electricity will be supplied at low cost. We will obtain long-term concessionary loans that are already instituted in the world,” the President asserted.