Sri Lanka is working towards deriving maximum power generation from all spectrums of energy sources while minimizing the environmental impact it will cause. “It is important to tap all the power resources to generate the necessary supply and we are considerate of the environmental impact in doing so. Therefore, measures will be taken to mitigate the impact on the environment,” While the government is keen on working towards 100 percent electrification of households in the country, it has provided electricity to all the households requesting power.
Sri Lanka has long term plans for growth in the power sector and expects that there will be 6 to 7 percent growth in power demand on a yearly basis. “The government is committed to supplying power continuously to all consumers and ensure that their day-to-day activities are not affected, it also costs the government huge amounts to purchase power from the private sector. With the prevailing drought it is a challenge to supply power without power cuts being imposed.
In 2016, 5,000 GWH was generated from hydropower, whereas in 2017 only 3,000 GWH was generated. This has created a capacity problem as it has restricted power supply. However, there are a number of large power projects and the Sooriya Bala Sangramaya (SBS) where roof top solar panels are set up for power generation has commenced.
It is expected that under this project 1,000 MW will be generated by 2025. The SBS project will spread across the country where 37 tenders have been awarded and another 19 to be awarded shortly.
“The government is looking at the entire spectrum of power sources including solar, wind, coal and nuclear power. Among the sources, wind power is considered to be an important aspect of power generation. A 120 MW plant has already been completed. To gain maximum use of wind, Sulang Bala Meheyuma is due to start. There is a three-pronged approach to generate wind power. There are two wind power plants in Mannar and Pooneryn with capacities of 300 MW and 200 MW respectively. Measures have been taken to build mini hydro power plants across the country and 50 such plants will be constructed within the next five years.
Planning Victoria Phase 2, which is to commission a pump hydro model plant with a capacity of 120 MW. Biomass is a source of power generation we are looking at. We have already commissioned a 30 MW plant and planning a 50 MW plant. We are also considering municipal waste energy for power generation. This will resolve the urban waste issue and approval has given for four projects with a capacity of 10 MW each. Given a special rate for this project to encourage the use of waste effectively
The government is planning to build LNG plants and considering the possibility of converting the 950 MW thermal power plant into an LNG plant. We will construct a 300 MW LNG plant at Kerawalapitiya through tender procedure. There will be 500 MW plant with Japanese government assistance and another 500MW plant with Indian assistance. There will also be 400 MW plant in Hambantota built by China which also plans to builds a LNG terminal facility at the Colombo Port. There is a proposal to build a floating regasification unit with India and Japan as joint venture partners and a unit with Korea using competitive Swiss challenge procedure. “With planned developments in the power sector by 2020, we will have LNG in the country to produce power by this source.
As a short term measure, until these power plants are in operation we will build four plants with 4MW capacity using heavy fuel. The government has decided not to have sub critical coal power plants taking into consideration the social and environmental aspects.
As a policy decision, the government is looking forward to build a nuclear power plant to minimise the environmental impact,” he said. With the steps taken to provide electricity to all the households in the country, the government is working towards improving the grid stability and voltage issues. As some areas have low voltage and breakdowns, we need to rectify these and have invested to improve transmission lines. “Plans will be taken to replace all cables with ABC cables. This will preserve the environment avoid cutting trees as much as possible and also look into electricity thefts.
There is also a proposal to build an Indo–Sri Lanka marine cable line. The plan is to build 1,000 MW HVT cable from Anuradhapura to Madurai. This will help us to export electricity when in excess. The power sector will be converted to zero carbon sector by 2050.