Sri Lanka signs up more renewable power plants

COLOMBO, Dec 09, 2014 (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s electricity utility has now signed up 280.51 megawatts of renewable power projects, about half of which will come from mini-hydro power stations, a senior official said.

The Ceylon Electricity Board is committed to greater use of renewable energy and has been strengthening its transmission network to take more power generated from such sources, CEB General Manager Shavindranath Fernando said.

Presently, Sri Lanka has about 400MW of non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE), largely from mini-hydro electricity plants, making up 10 percent of the country’s energy share.

The government has set a "challenging target" of achieving an NCRE share of 20 percent by 2020, Fernando said.

"Projects we have signed up now include solar, biomass, wind and mini-hydro," he said. "We expect a big jump in wind energy after 2014-15."

The government envisages reaching a 100 percent electrification target by 2015.

Fernando said that from the mid-1990s, till when the main hydro-electric dams were enough, the CEB has been trying to add more renewable energy to the generation mix with he himself having been in charge of the unit promoting RE in the mid-1980s.

"It is we who gave the impetus to go for RE," he told an energy forum organised by the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat and University Grants Commission.
The stat-run CEB has reinforced its transmission network to absorb more renewable energy, with several key transmission projects.

One was the 25.4 million US dollar Clean Energy & Access Improvement Project which covered nine grid substations.

Another was the construction of four new grid substations to absorb renewable energy costing 37.8 million dollars.

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Adding more renewable energy plants was important to make maximum use of indigenous resources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, all of which was imported now, as well as to address global climate change concerns.

Conventional RE resources like major hydro-power capacity had already been almost fully exploited, Fernando said.

What remained was non-conventional resources like wind, solar, mini-hydro and biomass.

NCRE projects in the pipeline for which the CEB has signed Standardized Small Power Purchase Agreement (SSPAs) include 64 mini-hydros with 142.64MW, four wind power projects generating 31.1MW, four solar power project with 40MW, 10 dendro biomass plants of 54.77MW and two 12MW biomass plants using agricultural and industrial waste.

 

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