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Sri Lanka to set up 60 mini solar plants by competitive tender

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s will call open tenders for private investors to set up 60 solar power plants of with a capacity of one MegaWatt each, following a successful tender for wind power which slashed costs, Deputy Power Minister Ajith Perera said.

Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board, has been paying as much 23 rupees per kilowatt hour as feed-in tariffs after the renewable businesses lobbied the regulator, justifying various costs.

The renewable lobby is so powerful in Sri Lanka that it had lobbied and received higher prices for small power plants made with ‘domestic’ material, critics say.

"Considering the interest shown by investors, we will call open tenders to set up 60, one MegaWatt solar plants distributed around the country, as soon as the cabinet (of ministers) gives approval," Deputy Minister Perera said.

"The most important aspect in this is that to reduce corruption fraud and we are going to call competitive tenders to establish the (feed-in) tariff."

Minister Perera said in last may Sri Lanka called competitive tenders for the first time for wind power and the lowest bid was 12.29 rupees per unit, compared to a current price paid of over 19.00 rupees per unit.

CEB Engineers Union had said publicly that pressure was brought through various quarters to prevent the tender documents being opened and reveal the fact that renewable energy could be supplied at a lower price.

Critics say the moves are a testimony to the influence wielded by the renewable lobby.

There had been allegations from some quarters that a so-called ‘renewable energy mafia’ is trying to sell power at high prices and are practicing a greenscam on the innocent public. Meanwhile the renewable lobby says there is a ‘diesel mafia’. (Colombo/Nov25/2016)





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