ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board should act quickly to buy 60MegaWatts of emergency power and immediately tender for 150MW of thermal capacity to come on stream early next year to avert a blackouts, the power regulator has said.
The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka said if rainfall is weaker than normal, 60MW of emergency generation should be brought on stream from an expired power purchase agreement.
The international power firm Agrekko has kept an ageing plant in Colombo knowing that CEB will eventually need as Sri Lanka has hardly ever been able to keep generation up with demand, due to delays in new plants.
The CEB could also operate Sojitz Kelanitissa plant as ‘open cycle’ (gas turbine) though the steam turbine of the combined cycle plant is broken, the regulator said. However it is not clear what rate has to be paid.
CEB could also get more power from the self-generation and disconnect bulk customers with on-site generators, PUCSL said.
For the November 2017 to February 2018 period, the CEB should immediately tender for 150MW of thermal power 10 months in three 50MW plants.
Power purchase agreements should be signed in October if reservoir levels fall below 630 GigaWatt hours, the regulator said.
Sri Lanka is heading for a power crisis as the CEB failed to a build 500MW coal plant in time, partly because the construction sites were shifted from place to place.
The current administration has since cancelled the plant.
Meanwhile the CEB and the regulator is also at loggerheads over the most recent generation plan, from which all coal plants were eliminated.
The CEB has lodged a protest over the revised plan. Power engineers have claimed that it is a ‘fake’ plan where coal costs were bloated by coupling a pump storage plant to show that liquefied natural gas was cheaper and has said they will not participate in procurement evaluation. (Colombo/Sept20/2017)