Sri Lanka to fast track small renewable power firms below 2MW: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will introduce a process to fast-track small renewable private power producers below 2 MegaWatts to the electricity grid, Power Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said.

"A simplified process to approve small renewable power investors and a tariff scheme will be introduced," Minister Siyambalapitiya told parliament.

The renewable industry has become a powerful lobby group with advocates making presentations at seminars and media.

Very high tariff have been given for 10 MW plants under standard power purchase agreements (SPPA), especially for wind.

It is not clear whether the small plants below 2 MW will be given an even higher tariff than that is now given to 10MW plants, but industry watchers say that is likely.

The plants cannot be dispatched (switched on and off centrally) and may at times contribute to system instability, industry watchers have warned. However there is also no capacity charge for small plants.

Renewable plants are unreliable and mini-hydro plants for example do not generate power during dry seasons and most of their power is generated during wet seasons.

The CEB sometimes has to allow its own plants such as Kukule Ganga to spill when rain is high to accommodate small hydros.

Kukule Ganga was supposed to be a large plants with storage, but the environmental lobbyists forced the CEB to make a small pond to protect Sinharaja forest. As a result downstream areas including Kaluthara is exposed to floods.

The Ceylon Electricity Board can only connect plants under its approved Long Term Generation Plan, but politicians can by-pass the LTGP by declaring an emergency with cabinet approval to push unapproved plants in to the grid. (Colombo/Mar24/2016)