Sri Lanka to call international tenders for 300MW coal plant: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will call international tenders for a 300MegaWatt coal plant in the island’s North Western coast as an extension to an existing coal complex, State Minister for Power Mahindanda Aluthgamage said.

The plant if built would be the fourth at a Chinese-built coal power complex in Norochcholai in Sri Lanka’s Puttalam district.

People in the vicinity of the coal complex had been suffering from ash and coal dust.

The plants that were built were from China which came as Design Build Transfer projects amid a power crisis from previous delays, but the CEB had originally wanted a cleaner plant with Japanese technology.

Alutgamage said Sri Lanka would call international competitive bids for the plant coal plant.

“We want to build a clean coal plant,” Minister Aluthgamage said. “In the Middle of the German capital there is a coal plant. We want to build a similar one.”

Sri Lanka also wanted to tender for 300MW LNG plants.

Both coal and LNG plants would be in those already included in an approved long term power generation plan, he said.

In 2015, the then-administration cancelled a 500MW joint venture coal plant on which feasibility, financing and ground work has already been done, after delays of several years.

The cancellation came amid pressure from environmentalists and backers of renewable power companies.

The cancellation has led to a financial crisis at the CEB from around 2020.

A tender for a 300MW LNG capable diesel plant had also ended up in courts over a tender controversy.

The CEB is also in a capacity crisis now due to the original delay in the coal plant and the LNG capable diesel plant.

It is in a financial crisis due to high diesel operations, the collapse of a rupee soft-peg by the central bank which had pushed up costs including coal and the lack of price increases to cover the rising costs. (Colombo/Jan29/2020)

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