- Cabinet approves Power Ministry list to be fast-tracked for implementation
- 600 MW of coal power to be added to Norochcholai
- Two LNG plants of 300 MW each; one to be funded by India, second by ADB
- Govt. to kick off solar projects under $ 100 m grant from India
- No power projects implemented since 2015
By Uditha Jayasinghe
In an attempt to jumpstart long delayed generation plans Cabinet this week approved several power plants to be fast-tracked for implementation including two 300 MW coal power plants, while also dusting off two 300 MW LNG power plants and considering as much as $ 100 million worth of renewables.
Sri Lanka has not set up any power plants in the past five years. In 2014 the second and third stages of the Norochcholai power plant were completed, adding 570 MW to the national grid. In the subsequent year, a 60 MW plant was added but since then power plants that were listed in the Long Term Generation Plan of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) were limited to paper. Repeated Cabinet approvals during the last four years failed to see any implementation on the ground with many running into controversies and cancellations.
Cabinet this week has re-examined some of the previously listed plants, including the 300 MW LNG plant that was to be built in Kerawalapitiya as a joint venture with the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) with funding assistance from India. This plant was initially given Cabinet approval in September 2018 as a 500 MW joint venture with Indian Company NTPC following high level discussions between Sri Lanka and India.
The proposal submitted by Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera also included the construction of a coal power plant unit with a capacity of 600 MW as an extension to the existing Norochcholai power plant, according to the press release given at the weekly Cabinet briefing.
However, another large coal power plant would be in contravention to an announcement this month from the President’s Office that Sri Lanka will aim for 80% renewable energy by 2030. Serious environmental concerns have also been voiced regarding coal power plants and Sri Lanka is already among the countries worst affected by climate change, experts said.
“Acceleration of the construction activities of a second LNG plant with a capacity of 300 MW was proposed in Kerawalapitiya with funds of the Asian Development Bank,” the Cabinet paper said.
In addition to two LNG power plants and the large coal power plant, the Government is also looking to accelerate the construction of hydro plants and regeneration power projects that are already under construction. Focus will also be given to the swift implementation of solar power projects that can be funded under a $ 100 million grant from the Indian Government.
Cabinet also gave approval for a separate Cabinet paper to contract installation of new equipment in thermal power plants.
The expansion of the Kelanitissa 132 kv Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) commenced in order to connect the 132 Busbar in the Kelanitissa grid substation with proposed gas turbines. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Power and Energy to award the contract of supply, installation and supervision of two 145 kv Double Busbar (GIS) and the administration, assessment and measuring contract of 145 kv Double Busbar (GIS) to Asea Brown Bovari Lanka Ltd, the original manufacturer.