ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is on track to receive enough coal supply to last till April 2023, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said, as the country’s only coal power plant awaits repairs after a sudden breakdown that extended power cut durations.
Sri Lanka’s current coal supply is only adequate till the end of October. Ratnayake had previously said the island nation would need 100 million US dollars to import more coal after the supply ran out.
“We have put out a tender and found a good supplier for coal from October to April,” said Ratnayake, “so the coal problem will be not be so bad.”
“We will be able to get the supply at reasonable prices.”
The country will be able to procure 2.5 million metric tons of coal necessary for the next year, he said.
Sri Lanka produces 40 percent of its electricity by burning coal. The breakdown in Unit 1 and the scheduled maintenance in Unit 2 of the Norochcholai power plant is keeping 540 mW from the National Grid. Currently only Unit 3 of the plant is functional.
The 270 mW lost due to the breakdown in Unit one will be supplemented by other power plants, particularly fuel power plants, authorities said.
“We generate forty percent electricity with coal, and because the rains have filled the reservoirs, the rest we produce with hydro power. For the past two weeks, we have not been using fuel to generate electricity,” said Ratnayake.
Sri Lanka has enough capacity to manage the next two weeks, while Unit 1 was brought back online.
“When operating a power plant, the temperature is maintained at around 1,000 degrees Celsius. It takes seven to eight days for it to cool down enough till a person can enter. After that within 14 days [the generator] can be repaired,” he said.
Ratnayake said Unit 3 would enter the national grid around November 05.
“The problem is within the next 14 days we need to manage, which is why we are going for the three hour power cuts,” he said. (Colombo/Aug16/2022)