Sri Lanka regulator stresses urgency of new power plants to ward off shortage
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s electricity sector regulator has called for the immediate construction of new power plants envisaged in a revised long term plan of the state utility, saying failure to do so would lead to a power shortage in two years.
The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) said it had granted approval to Ceylon Electricity Board’s (CEB) Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) 2015- 2034,in order to address expected power shortages in the future.
“PUCSL envisages an energy shortage in years 2018/ 2019 unless the plants identified in the approved plan relevant to the period are implemented on time,” a statement said.
Its Director General Damitha Kumarasinghe said the revised CEB plan includes about 1,200MW of new plants, including liquefied natural gas-fired plants, not listed in the previous plan which it had rejected.
“The real challenge is to get these plants implemented,” he told a news conference. “We have only one and a half to two years. We’re looking at very quick implementation.”
The new plants in the revised CEB plan are meant to make up for the shortfall created by the government’s recent decision to cancel a 500MW coal-fired power station to have been built in a joint venture with India as its construction was about to start.
CEB engineers have warned the sudden cancellation, in favour of a switch to natural gas as fuel, could leave the country short of power in a couple of years, forcing it to buy high-cost diesel power generators which would increase costs to consumers.
The PUCSL said the plants listed in the LCLTGEP for the period of 2017 – 2020, adding about 1,275MW to the national grid during next four years, should be “immediately constructed and operated, to prevent the possible power shortage in year 2018.”
These plants include two thermal power plants with the capacity of 170 MW in Southern region, 105 MW gas turbines, 300MW natural gas power plant and several renewable energy power plants with the capacity of 700MW which include three major hydro power plants.
(COLOMBO, Sept 19, 2016)