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Norochcholai coal power project to be opened in January :

Power at Rs. 8.04 a unit from next year - Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka



The Norochcholai power plant

The Power and Energy Ministry has drawn up a special plan to install more coal power plants rather than construct high cost diesel power plants with the objective of providing electricity at cheap rates to the 4.3 million consumers in the country.

The dream of generating electricity from coal power has come true. The idea of constructing a coal power plant in the country came two decades ago. Unlike thermal power plants, coal power plants cannot be constructed everywhere in the country.

A coal power plant should be constructed in close proximity to the coastal belt. Government officials, CEB engineers and foreign experts selected Norochcholai in the Puttalam District as the best location to construct the country's first coal power plant.

Norochcholai is located over 80 kms away from the city of Colombo. When our officials first visited the area, residents protested its construction but ultimately with the intervention of ministers and CEB officials residents agreed to its construction as it was a national need.

The CEB had to demolish some houses which were not properly constructed - houses with cadjan roofs and wattle and daub houses.

VIPs being conducted to the venue

Residents who were evacuated from the site for the construction of the plant were happy to have their new houses that were perfectly constructed. In addition they were also paid compensation.

The first phase of the 300 MW Norochcholai power plant commenced last week. The boiler firing took place at the auspicious time under the patronage of the Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, Petroleum Resources Minister Susil Premajayantha, Public Administration Minister W.D.J. Seneviratna,Minister Consular, People's Republic of China, Ugin-Sue with the blessings of the Sanga and other religious dignitaries. Chinese engineers, labourers and officials were present. The ministers also planted several trees at the site to mark the historic event.

The CEB spends Rs. 17.51 for a unit of electricity, but consumers pay only Rs. 13 and the CEB loses Rs. four per unit.


Governor, North Western Province Tissa Balalle lights the oil lamp
Minister W D J Seneviratne commissions the power plant

Coal being unloaded at the jetty

The Minister said that the CEB has planned to give an electricity unit at Rs. 8.04 from next year.

The country exports high quality coal for use of developing countries like Australia and Japan.

Minister W.D.J. Seneviratna said that at present only 85 percent households in the country receive electricity. All Sri Lankans will be given electricity from next year.

In addition another coal power plant will be constructed at Sampur in Trincomalee. The Norochcholai power plant is constructed at a cost of 455 million US dollars by the People's Republic of China.

The MoU to construct the plant was signed in 2005 by the then Minister Susil Premajayantha.

Nearly 900 Chinese workers including engineers, helpers, welders and fitters work round the clock at the site, while a few Sri Lankan engineers assist them as consultants. Sri Lankan labourers too work in the site.

A new power line with 288 towers have also been installed at a cost of $70 million from Norochcholai power house to the Veyangoda Grid sub station to distribute power to a large area.

The `Roofing Ceremony' of the Norochcholai power plant, which was the final official event before the opening, according to Chinese tradition was held on August 20 under the patronage of former Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne.

Minister Premajayantha said the country annually spends a colossal sum of foreign exchange on diesel and other lubricants to activate thermal power plants. Norochcholai will help the CEB to reduce this. Sri Lanka's second coal power plant, which has the capacity to generate 1,000 MWs is under construction at Sampur in collaboration with the Indian Government.

Under the first phase of this project 500 MWs will be generated and 500 MWs will be generated under the second phase.

The construction work of the Upper Kotmale plant will be completed during the early part of next year.

After the completion of the four major power projects at Norochcholai, Sampur, Upper Kotmale and Kerawalapitiya, Sri Lanka will never face any power shortages, he said. As the initial step to rural electrification, the CEB has planned to install power houses in several rural areas in the Southern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces for the benefit of a large number of low income families. The CEB has also decided to install mini hydro power stations in the Sabaragamuwa Province, Moneragala District and the Uma Oya areas to generate 35 MWs, 45 MWs and 100 MWs respectively.

 

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