23 March 2011

Norochcholai Coal Power Complex First Phase Opened by President Adds 300 MW to the National Grid. 600MW more to be Added by 2014

23rd March 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka will add another 600 MegaWatts of capacity to the national grid by 2014, ensuring uninterrupted 24-hour power supply, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said while commissioning the country's first coal power plant.

The country is also seriously looking at alternative, clean sources of energy, not wanting to depend on a single fuel source, Power minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.

The official commissioning of the first phase of coal power complex in Norochcholai, on the north-western coast, add 300 MW to the national grid.

The power plant, built by China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation with a 450 million US dollar loan from China’s EXIM Bank, will later be expanded to 900 MW.

Rajapaksa said power plants under construction or planned will add another 600MW of power, including the Broadlands hydro power plant and a coal power plant in north-eastern Trincomalee that is to be funded and built with Indian aid.

"We have now given electricity to 87 percent of the people," Rajapaksa said. "There's no other country in the region without power cuts. We're able to provide 24-hour uninterrupted supply."

Power minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said the new 'Lakvijaya' coal power plant will help reduce costs at the state-owned power utility, Ceylon Electricity Board.

He said it costs six rupees to generate power at the plant given the price of the last coal shipment bought by the CEB but that the new plant was still cheap compared with other fossil fuels.

"Today coal has become expensive," he said.

The government is also looking at alternative energy sources and will not rely on a single fuel or power source as had been done in the past, first with hydro power and then with fossil fuel-powered plants.

"We intend to use all sources of energy to stabilise the power sector, including clean energy sources like wind, solar, mini-hydro and geo-thermal energy."

Over half the island's total power supply now comes from clean energy sources, Ranawaka said, referring to large and small hydro-electricity power stations and wind power plants.

Image: Sri Lanka’s first ever coal power plant Lak Vijaya was declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Norochcholai yesterday. Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, Deputy Power and Energy Minister Premalal Jayasekera and Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Yang Xiuping were also present. Pictures by Sudath Silva. (Image courtesy: www.dailynews.lk)

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