Power generation: ‘Next three years critical’ | Sunday Observer

Power generation: ‘Next three years critical’

The next three years will be critical for the country, if the power plants proposed in the Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) does not come on stream in time, said Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Director General Damitha Kumarasinghe.

He said it is now up to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to implement the projects in time to avert a power crisis in the coming years.

“We approved the LCLTGP of the CEB in July. However, we have not received a confirmation of its implementation in writing,” Kumarasinghe said.

However, CEB sources said that the first phase of the plan is being carried out. A CEB union has raised objections to the power generation expansion plan.

Energy sector experts have predicted that the country will face power outages if viable measures are not in place to bridge the shortfall in power generation.

The demand for electricity has increased steadily over the years with industrial and residential development.

The PUCSL has called for the construction of power plants from 2018 to 2020. For the year 2018, a 15 MW hydro power plant, 5 MW biomass and a 160 MW solar plant under renewable energy and 100 MW, 70 MW and 150 MW furnace oil fired power plants under thermal energy has been proposed under the LCLTGEP.

The power expansion plan also includes 122 MW from major hydro and 15 MW from mini hydro plants to be constructed in 2019. Ninety five MW of solar power, 50MW from wind and 5 MW from biomass are also included for the same year. Major, mini hydro power plants, wind and solar adding 50MW, 15 MW, 100 MW and 105 MW have been proposed for 2020.

The weather will be a key factor in hydro power generation and meeting the requirements next year.

“If drought prevails for a good part of the year it will aggravate the issue in the coming years,” Kumarasinghe said.

Sri Lanka faced a major power crisis in 1996 with regular power cuts throughout the year.