Sri Lanka-India power link will help meet peak load shortages
ECONOMYNEXT – The proposed power sharing deal and submarine link between Sri Lanka and India will help the island meet peak generation shortages in future although having excess base load supply, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.
The link may account for 7–15 percent of Sri Lankan annual energy requirement – mostly during peak, the ADB, which could help fund the project, said in a new report on the economic and reliability benefits of electricity trading among the countries in South Asia.
The study, which covers Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, said such electricity trading would allow utilities to optimally use available resources to satisfy demand across the whole subregion.
“In the case of Sri Lanka, in the future it is likely to face peak-load generation shortages while its base-load generation will be in excess,” it said.
“At same time Bangladesh will also experience both peak and base-load generation shortage in future. Therefore any interconnection with India will be able to ease this situation in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with long term access to Indian power market.”
Although Sri Lanka has excess power now, with the commissioning of the Chinese-funded and built 900MW coal power plant, demand for electricity will accelerate along with economic growth and increasing industrialisation.
The island now has almost 100 percent electricity coverage and no power shortages unlike the rest of South Asia where electricity blackouts are common.
The ADB report said studies show net power transfer levels between India and Sri Lanka exceeding 2,000 GWh.
The link also facilitates transfer of surplus off-peak energy to India from Sri Lanka, but the net transfer is expected to reflect a significant volume of import over the link into the island.
It will also help improve Sri Lanka’s power grid system reliability both in terms of reducing the overall probability of outage and the duration, impacting frequency and level of load unserved.
“Also, diesel generation would reduce quite considerably,” the ADB said. “While the addition of new coal and hydro in Sri Lanka would reduce reliance on extensive peaking support using diesel even absent the link, the link further reduces dispatch from these generators.” (Colombo/September 6 2015)