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Sunday December 10th, 2023

Sri Lanka likely to plunge deeper into darkness as coal plant reports another breakdown: UPDATED

Lakvijaya power plant comes under fire from Parliament

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s daily scheduled power cuts, already extended by an hour, will likely see further extensions following yet another breakdown at the Lakvijaya coal power plant in Norochcholai, Puttalam, an official said.

UPDATE: Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijsekara tweeted a short while ago that the utility regulator has given approval to the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to purchase power from private plants and that the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will provide the fuel needed by the CEB to maintain power generation without extending power cuts.


Sri Lanka will not see longer power cuts despite Norochcholai coal plant breakdown: minister

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the country’s power regulator, issued a statement Tuesday September 27 morning warning of possible lengthening of the ongoing 2-hour-and-20-minute outages by “several hours” after the third unit at the Norochocholai had to be shut down.

Minister of Power & Energy Kanchana Wijesekara tweeted a short while later that the breakdown was due to a steam leak and that fuel power plants will be used to manage power generation in the mean time. Repairs are expected to take three to five days, he said. The minister did not comment on whether power cuts will be longer.

PUCSL Chairman Janaka Ratnayake told EconomyNext that the public will be informed of the new power cut hours within the day.

On August 15, Unit 1 at Lakvijaya was shut down, after which power cuts were extended from one hour and 20 minutes to three hours. The unit was repaired in under two weeks.

However, the regulator has been warning of further extensions due to the authorities’ failure to secure a coal supply for October 2022-2023.

“Under the present circumstances, we may have to go for longer power cuts. With the shutdown of the third unit at Norochcholai due to a breakdown,  only one plant at Norachcholai out of three now generates power for the grid,” said Ratnayake.

“We may bring in fuel, or other oil for now. But we need a long term solution for this. Otherwise the country will go into a more critical situation.

“It will have an adverse effect on power generation and on the economy as well. Political leaders together with other authorities should focus on finding a permanent solution to this. It can be renewable or any other method. But the time has come for us to find a solution without waiting any longer,” said Ratnayake. (Colombo/Sep27/2022)

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  1. Dr Vischjager says:

    Every time we hear power plants breaking down. If CEB does not have capable engineers to keep the power plants continuously in use, let them find foreign engineers who know what they are doing. On the other hand, could the breakdowns just be a scam?

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  1. Dr Vischjager says:

    Every time we hear power plants breaking down. If CEB does not have capable engineers to keep the power plants continuously in use, let them find foreign engineers who know what they are doing. On the other hand, could the breakdowns just be a scam?

ADB USD200mn loan for Sri Lanka economic stabilization efforts

ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US 200 million dollar concessional loan to Sri Lanka to help stabilize the country’s finance sector.

The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of IS 200 million dollars each, according to a statement by the ADB.

“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”

The ADB statement continues:

“Subprogram 1 targets short-term stabilization and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.

The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured.

The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023.

It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability.

It is also in line with the government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macroprudential authority.

In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.

“The loan is accompanied by a $1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.”

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Sri Lank in blackout as power grid hit by cascading failure

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka suffered a blackout as Saturday evening as the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board grid was hit by a cascading power failure.

The cascading failure is believed to have been triggered by the failure of the Kothmale-Biyagama transmission line.

“The Ceylon Electricity Board wishes to inform our customers that due to the failure of Kotmale – Biyagama main transmission line, an island wide power failure has occurred,” CEB Spokesman Noel Priyantha said.

“Step by step restorations are underway and it may take few hours to completely restore the power supply.”

With hydro plants running flat out, a outage of the line tends to create a big imbalance in the demand and supply, leading to tripping of more lines and generators.

Lines can trip due to lightening strikes, or equipment failures.

Sri Lanka last suffered a cascading failure in December 2021, due to the failure of the same transmission line.

RelatedSri Lanka power blackout as grid hit by cascading failure

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Sri Lanka to host regional Food and Agriculture Organization conference

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will host the 37th session of the Asia Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), from February 19-22, 2024 in Colombo.

The Conference will bring together agriculture ministers and officials from 46 countries across the region to discuss challenges in food and agriculture.

“The 37th APRC will provide a vital platform for regional collaboration, benefitting the agricultural landscape, fisheries sector and environment of Sri Lanka,” Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said at a press briefing on Friday (8) to announce the conference.

FAO has had an active presence in Sri Lanka for over 40 years. “FAO has supported the country in the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and the development of the fisheries sector for growth and climate resilience,” Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.

“The APRC conference will be an opportunity to highlight the innovative approaches introduced in partnership with the government.”

By hosting APRC, Sri Lanka hopes to demonstrate the country’s dedication to the growth of sustainable agriculture, and showcase its commitment to sustainable agricultural development.

The APRC agenda will include a forum on agritourism, especially requested by the Sri Lankan government.

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