Sri Lanka wind project gets environmental okay with fewer turbines

ECONOMYNEXT – An Asian Development Bank (ADB)-supported project to set up a wind power project in north-western Sri Lanka has got environmental clearance, with the lender saying impacts could be mitigated through design changes like fewer turbines.

A draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) released by the ADB said environmental assessments and special studies for the 100MW Wind Power Project in Mannar have been done for over a year between 2016 and 2017.

The project by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the state utility, is estimated to cost $157 million, with the main benefit being avoiding electricity generation from conventional power plants such as thermal power.

The ADB said that, initially, the proposed project was to consist of 56 wind turbines, but the number has been reduced to 39.
This was after consultations with local people, non-government organizations such as Ceylon Bird Club, and special environmental studies conducted for more than a year such as avian collision assessment, noise modelling and visual impact assessment.

The studies showed that there are important bird populations that could be affected by the proposed development, but the impact could be reduced with design changes and makin the project sustainable, the ADB said.

“The development of the 100MW wind power generation project is consistent with the renewable energy resource development plan of the government of Sri Lanka and the associated environmental requirements have been followed by the CEB,” it said. “The CEB is committed to implement the measures and recommendations from the environmental studies.”

The ADB said that, while “there are potential environmental impacts identified such as disturbance to some bird species and an increase in noise levels at some sensitive receptors, these can be mitigated through design specifications of wind turbines, good construction engineering practices and operating procedures.”
(COLOMBO, May 23, 2017)

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