Energy wars in Sri Lanka: Coal vs Renewable (Video)

Energy wars in Sri Lanka: Coal vs Renewable (Video)

Written by Lahiru Fernando

19 Jul, 2016 | 7:32 am

Experts in the energy sector are speaking out against proposals for coal power plants in order to fulfill the increasing demand for energy in the country in the coming years. This comes in the wake of a warning from engineers that if the Sampur Coal power plant is not built, the country will face power cuts in 2018.

Engineers at the Ceylon Electricity Board have proposed the construction of coal-fired power plants including the Sampur Power Plant, in order to meet the demand for energy in the country, which is increasing daily.

The Sampur power plant which is expected to supply 1000 megawatts to the national grid is to be constructed in two phases of two 500 megawatt power stations. While the first phase of the power plant was to be completed by 2018, construction has been stalled at present.

Against this backdrop, electrical engineers warn that an energy shortage could arise in 2018 and that this could lead to widespread power cuts.

Though CEB engineers propose the coal power plants to meet the demand, fellow engineer and Former Chairman of the Bio-Energy Association Parakrama Jayasinghe says that even if such a crisis arises, the Sampur Power Plant is not the solution.

Parakrama Jayasinghe questioned why coal is considered an option especially when the country has a policy framework created by the government in place. He also noted that it has been mentioned in the President’s policy framework that Sri Lanka must move towards renewable energy in the future.

“I am extremeluy dissappointed that the engineers institute of which I too am a member, has issued such a partisan statement” said Parakrama Jayasinghe,  former chairman – Bio-Energy Association of Sri Lanka

“Energy can be generated through solar power, wind power and natural gas as we have continuously maintained. This can be done within two to two  and a half years. Why are we insisting on only coal power for our country? Coal is a 150 year old technology.” queries Vidhura Ralapanawe, Energy Expert

While engineers continue to keep faith in coal power plants, as per the government’s stated policy, Sri Lanka should adopt 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Meanwhile, Civil Society Activist Keerthi Tennakoon asks:

A mafia of engineers who have made a very profitable business out of power generation has been operating in the Ceylon Electricity Board for a very long time. They indirectly hold politicians hostage.

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