Sri Lanka to add 500MW by 2018 to meet growing electricity demand

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state power utility plans to add 500MW of capacity next year to meet fast-growing demand for electricity, with more than half coming from oil-based plants, the energy regulator said.

While least-cost is a major concern in installing new power generation plants, environmental friendliness has been added in identifying technology options in the generation mix of the next 20 years, according to an updated long-term generation plan of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator, said it is opened for the public to comment on the CEB’s Least-Cost Long-Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) 2018-2037.

Generation demand is expected to grow 5.9 percent a year over 2018-2022, while peak demand is expected to grow at 5.1 percent annually, it said. Demand is expected to grow 4.9 percent per annum over 2018-2037 whilee peak demand is expected grow at 4.5 percent.

The state utility plans to add a total of 500MW of capacity in 2018, comprising 15MW of mini hydro power, 160MW of solar power, 5MW of biomass and 320MW of oil-based power, PUCSL said in a statement.

The LCLTGEP has been compiled based on the results of the latest electricity expansion planning studies conducted by the CEB for the planning period of 2018-2037.

The total investment required for implementing the 2018-2037 plan in the next 20 years is approximately $14.6 billion (2,168.93 billion rupees),  without considering projects for which funds have already been committed, PUCSL said.

It “aims to cater to forecast demand growth by identifying the least-cost plant addition sequence based on the most sustainable technology to avoid electricity shortfalls in the country,” PUCSL said.

The plan has been submitted to PUCSL for approval.

“The Least-Cost Long-Term Generation Expansion Plan is one of the most important plans in the nation as it plans electricity generation for the country for the next 20 years to ensure energy security, and the least-cost plant mix for each year is identified by analyzing and evaluating various technology options,” Damitha Kumarasinghe, director general of PUCSL, said.





“It serves as a guideline to facilitate decision makers in making decisions in line with national policy objectives by exploring and evaluating various generation technology options in different situations.”

By opening the plan for public comment, “we hope to involve all the related and interested parties in the decision-making process through opinions, views, alternative proposals and suggestions on the LCLTGEP 2018-2037,” Kumarasinghe said. “We hope to increase the transparency of the approval process and increase public participation in the decision-making process of Sri Lanka’s most important energy generation plan.”

The Sri Lankan power system had a total installed capacity of approximately 4018MW by the end of 2016, with total dispatchable capacity of 3538MW, including non-dispatchable plants of capacity 516MW owned by private sector developers.

According to expected growth, the grid should have an installed capacity of 4,269MW in the beginning of  2018 – an addition of 251MW – and 10,783MW by the end of 2037, LCLTGEP data shows.

The proposed energy mix for the next 20 years ocmprises major hydro, coal, pumped storage hydro, combined cycle, oil and gas turbine plants.
(COLOMBO, May 16, 2017)

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