A 4th coal power plant for Sri Lanka?

A 4th coal power plant for Sri Lanka?

Written by Staff Writer

29 Sep, 2019 | 8:18 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st):- Although the CEB called for tenders for the purchase of 100MW under the label of Supplementary Electrical power, the Minister annulled it. However, in March the CEB had in addition to purchasing 100MW of power also entered into an agreement in violation of the Sri Lanka Electricity Act, for the purchase of 71MW through the course of 2 years, with two private power suppliers.

Afterwards, the CEB informs the Ministry of the requirement of an additional 470MW of electricity following a meeting held on the 11th of April. A letter pertaining to the matter was submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by the Subject Minister. The letter sent by the Ambassador of Turkey states that a total of 200MW can be supplied by a Turkish company to address the power shortage in the country. As per the letter, the subject Minister took steps to submit a cabinet paper on the matter in April.

The media spokesperson of the ministry justified the need to implement this proposal to Action TV. Sulakshana Jayawardena says that they received a proposal from the Ambassador of Turkey to call these proposals as unsolicited ones. He said that when they were given such a proposal that they had evaluated it given the current situation of the country. He added that the government has identified an emergency need due to the current shortage of power in the grid.

The letter sent by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka to the Ceylon Electricity board dated the 20th of this month proves that the purported shortage in the power was a creation of the government. Although Cabinet approval was granted for the purchase of 200MW from this Turkish company, the PUCSL had refused to grant the transmission permit to the CEB for the said purchase of power. The fact that the purchase in question was against the Sri Lanka Electricity Act and the fact that there is no real power shortage in the country were cited as the reasons for the rejection of the permit.

Action TV made revelations on a number of occasions including yesterday of attempts made by the CEB and the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, to purchase power at exorbitant prices, in violation of the provision of the Sri Lanka Electricity Act, at a time when there is no shortage of electricity in the country. They plan on constructing the 4th power plant in Norochcholai as a project under the CEB. A letter submitted by the Minister regarding this project is an exaggeration that is far from the truth.

In the letter, the Minister states that coal power production is cheaper, after only taking into account the cost of coal. The Minister is brushing under the carpet the fact that the Norochcholai project which already has three active power plants has become a threat to the environment. According to the latest report of the Industrial Technology Institute, the air pollution caused by the Norochcholai power plant has reached critical levels. It should be noted that the report includes figures of air pollution obtained at a time when only one out of the three power plants at Norochocholai were operational. To preserve the environment at Norochcholai, the power produced by two of the power plants that can be added to the national grid stands at 380MW and not 600MW.

At a time when Norochcholai has become the symbol of environmental pollution and an example of what a badly failing project could be, can the CEB’s attempts to construct a 4th power plant in the region through a direct loan from China be dubbed as the solution to the power shortage in Sri Lanka? Is it a blatant blow on the national economy?

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