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Sunday September 24th, 2023

Sri Lanka to get power plant with energy storage system in North

ECONOMYNEXT – An Australia-based global renewable energy developer has proposed to set up a solar power plant of 700mw with a battery energy storage system at Poonakary Lake in Kilinochchi.

The Cabinet, this week, approved the proposal presented by the Power and Energy Minister to accept the project proposal presented by United Solar Energy Sri Lanka in principle, and to appoint a Cabinet negotiation committee to evaluate the proposal and make recommendations.

“This is a large-scale project. I think this would be the largest such project in the North and East,” Cabinet Spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. The plant is expected to generate 134mw.

The Northern Provincial Council, the Northern Provincial Irrigation Department and the Agricultural Development Department have agreed to grant 1,080 acres of the shallow area of the Poonakary Lake to United Solar Energy Sri Lanka on a 35-year lease agreement.

United Solar Energy Sri Lanka is the local arm of the global United Solar Group which has a presence in 19 countries.

The company partners with governments by creating a local special purpose vehicle, its website states: “Through SPVs we build a large workforce network of contractors and experienced project specialists.

“We tap into the workforce of local communities in each country and oversee the construction via our SPV experienced site managers and fly in engineers from our manufacturers.”

The Poonakary Lake power plant project includes a proposal to construct three anicuts around the Lake to prevent the ingress of sea water at a cost of 13.5 million US dollars.

The project will have a foreign direct investment of 1,727 million US dollars; of this 500 million US dollars will be segregated for domestic project components.

Solar energy is increasingly popular worldwide and is used for generating electricity, heating and desalinating water.

Sri Lanka’s state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has said it hopes to increase renewable energy sources to 70 percent of its energy generation mix by 2030, and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

This will require the addition of considerable generating capacity from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind during the next 6 years. A large component of its present renewable energy sources is hydro – major and mini.

In 2021, the SOE saw 415mw generated from rooftop solar. Rooftop solar made up 2.3 percent, and independent power producers accounted for 0.9 percent of CEB’s energy generation mix.

The island receives a significant amount of solar radiation across all its geographical regions, the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority says.

But the intensity of solar irradiation in lowland areas, like the North, is particularly high compared to mountainous regions where there is more cloud cover.

However, solar and wind power do not provide a continuous, consistent output. Their output varies with the intensity and availability of the resource.

Therefore, high capacity energy storage systems need to be installed in such power systems that could carry out fast power adjustments to offset generation from varying solar and wind resources. (Colombo/Sep14/2023)

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Sri Lanka India industrial zone around Trinco, maritime links mooted

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ports Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had highlighted the desire of both the Governments to work closely to develop the industrial zone at Trincomalee, after accepting an invitation to participate in a maritime summit.

The Global Maritime India Summit (GMIS) will be held in India from October 17-19, 2023 at Mumbai where Sri Lanka has been invited at a partner country.

At a curtain raiser event on September 22, India’s High Commissioner in Colombo, Gopal Baglay had said both countries were working on enhancing sea connectivity according to a vision document launched during a recent visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India.

Minister de Silva will lead a delegation from Sri Lanka to the summit.

Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India, T K Ramachandran said the Global Maritime India Summit aims strengthen the Indian maritime economy by promoting global and regional partnerships and facilitating investments.

The event will give an opportunity to the Government of Sri Lanka to attracting greater investment from India in development of its maritime infrastructure, Ramachandran said.

It will also facilitate greater business to business interactions. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka brings back import para tariff on milk

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has brought back an import para tariff called the Ports and Airports Levy, to several grades of milk powder.

Milk powder has been removed from a list of PAL exemptions, making them liable for a 10 percent tax.

The PAL para tariffs are also a contentious issue in terms of export competitiveness, and the government has previously given undertakings that they will be eliminated.

Trade freedoms of the poor figure in an IMF/World bank reform program with the governments.

Milk is a protein rich food, in a country where children of poor families are facing stunting and malnutrition.

Economic nationalism is seen at high levels in food, with several businessmen are pushing for trade protection, amid an overall autarkist (self-sufficiency) ideology, going directly against policies followed in East Asia, which the same as hold up as examples.

Sri Lanka keeps dairy product prices up ostensibly to bring profits to a domestic dairy company and farmers.

Sri Lanka also keeps maize prices up, ostensibly to give profits to farmers and collectors. (Colombo/Sept22/2023)

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Sri Lanka govt warns liquor manufacturers: pay defaulted tax or lose licence

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka government which is struggling to raise the state revenue despite   higher taxes, has warned liquor manufacturers to pay defaulted taxes or lose their licence.

The government is now getting tough with past tax defaulters amid concerns over falling short of this year’s revenue target agreed with the International Monetary Fun (IMF).

“Liquor manufacturing firms owe us 660 crore rupees (6.6 billion rupees),” Siyambalapitiya told  reporters on Thursday (21).

“Most of this or around a third is the only excise tax amount to be paid. The rest is penalty. If a liquor manufacturer does not pay on time, we impose a penalty of 3 percent per month This means 36 percent (penalty) per annum,” he said.

“We have given them deadline to repay the basic excise taxes. If they don’t pay, we will cancel their licence.”

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government committed an ambitious revenue target among many other reforms to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return to a $3 billion loan package.

However, the revenue could face a short fall of 100 billion rupees, State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has said.

A new Central Bank Act also has legally prevented the government of printing money at its discretion as  in the past.  (Colombo/September 24/2023)

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