ADB aid for Sri Lanka power system reliability study
ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank is giving Sri Lanka grant aid to hire two consulting firms to study and improve the soundness of the island’s power transmission system which has suffered blackouts owing to poor reliability.
Two separate consulting firms will be selected for undertaking a study on power supply reliability and protection development and conducting project preparatory due diligence , the ADB said.
The project, funded with a grant of US$1.5 million will start in March 2018 and be completed by February 2019.
The executing agency is the Asian Development Bank while implementing agencies are the state power utility Ceylon Electricity Board and Lanka Electricity Company (Private) Ltd.
“While trying to meet increasing demand the sector continues to struggle because of the high cost of electricity emanating from poor generation mix and inadequate level of reliability,” the ADB report said.
“This is partly due to underinvestment in the transmission network, medium voltage network, and protection system resulting from high government debt-to-GDP ratio over the years and the poor financial status of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB)—the state-owned public utility whose operations have been constrained by non-implementation of full cost recovery tariff and receivables.”
In 2015–2016, Sri Lanka suffered three country-wide blackouts within the span of 7 months.
“All these blackouts were attributed to poor operation of the protection system, lack of operational flexibility and bottlenecks in the transmission system,” the ADB said.
Strengthening the transmission system, improving the 33/11 kilovolt (kV) medium voltage network, and upgrading the protection system are needed to ensure reliable operation of the power system, the ADB said.
“These interventions will also help increase absorption of intermittent wind and solar power which in turn will contribute to achieving government targets for clean energy development. Similarly, these will improve the quality of power supply in rural areas, where currently the quality is low.”
(COLOMBO, January 16, 2018)