Aitken Spence managed Elpitiya Plantations PLC, which comprise of 16 estates of tea, rubber and palm oil and spread across three regions of Sri Lanka was awarded the prestigious ‘National Plantation Award 2012 for Generating Hydro Power of RCP sector’ by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the National Plantation Awards 2012, held recently.
The award ceremony was held to recognise the contributions made to the national economy by growers, industrialists, factory owners, regional planters and exporters in the plantation sector.
Elpitiya’s diverse portfolio of estates includes Dunsinane and New Peacock in the high and mid grown elevations and Deviturai and Talgaswela in the low grown elevations. The Company in 2003 initiated a project to reduce the cost of energy in its plantations by investing in hydro power. The project has over the years progressed to the building of two mini hydro power plant projects with a feeding capacity of 3560 KW and an average annual generation of 11.2GW to the country’s national grid.
Elpitiya built its first hydro power project in 2008 whilst it took a stake in another hydro power project built on the Dunsinane estate in 2006. The third project will be commissioned in December 2012 with a capacity of 900KW, which is currently under construction and is anticipated to generate 2.92GW of green energy to the national grid.
Elpitiya Plantations CEO Tony Goonewardena said, “Being recognised at the National Plantation Award for the efforts of our hydro power projects is encouraging to push forward similar sustainable investments. Elpitiya has prospered over the years and will continue to grow by taking key decisions that create and contribute value not just to the business, but to the community and the nation as a whole.”
Environmental conservation is a key strategy for Elpitiya in the context of sustainable development. Apart from the growing of shade and other valuable trees on the estates, the company has set up water treatment plants in the rubber factories, developed systems for rainwater harvesting and also introduced several biological methods to control pest and diseases. Furthermore, the application of organic fertiliser on a sustainable basis to improve soil and preserve the environment has also been increased. Elpitiya has also taken several timely steps to reduce the cost of energy apart from investing into hydro power. Installation of several energy saving devices such as wood-fired hot water boilers, installation of capacitor banks in all the factories, installation of energy saving withering fans, have been some of the ongoing initiatives.
Four more projects are in the pipeline of the company’s initiatives, from which the expected total capacity of 2600KW, with an average annual generation of 8.6GWh is anticipated. Two of these projects have obtained all the necessary approvals, including the BOI approval.