ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has given provisional approval for two wind energy projects by the India-based conglomerate Adani Group, Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara said.
Minister Wijesekara tweeted on Tuesday August 16 that at a discussion with the state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and th eSustainable Development Authority about the progress of renewable energy projects, it was decided to grant provisional approval for two wind projects – 286MW in Mannar and 234MW in Pooneryn – in an Investment of over 500 million US dollars.
The announcement came at a time when relations between India and Sri Lanka are being tested thanks to the arrival of a Chinese tracking vessel at the Hambantota Port in the island’s deep south.
Adani Group, a multinational diversified conglomerate which has business interests ranging from port management to power generation and renewable energy to natural gas, was awarded the deal in 2021 to generate 500MW of power using wind mills in the island nation’s northern coast.
The project was resisted by some trade unions at the CEB and activists groups claim that the project has bypassed normal tender procedures and was clandestinely signed between former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government and the owner of the Adani group who is a close ally of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The controversy led to the resignation of former CEB Chairman M M C Fernando after he told Sri Lanka parliament’s Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) that former President Rajapaksa had told him that Prime Minister Modi had pressured him to hand over a wind power project to the Adani Group.
Minister Wijesekara said in his tweet that, along with the provisional approval for the Adani group, another 21 out of 46 projects that were delayed due to amendments to the CEB Act will enter into power purchase agreements next week.
He added that 26 renewable proposals that were given provisional approvals will be expedited with grid clearance and transmission plans. Other proposals will be evaluated within 30 days, he said. (Colombo/Aug 17/2022)