Power Finance

June 13, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan private sector firms are too small yet to start mega infrastructure such as coal plants on their own, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which is financing such plants in the region, said. The IFC, the private sector finance arm of the World Bank, likes to partner with the Sri Lankan private sector to develop mega infrastructure projects such as coal power, said Per Kjellerhaug, regional manager, IFC.

“But unfortunately IFC can only provide 25 percent of the funds that have to be invested by the private sector,” said Kjellerhaug.

In Neighboring India, with a population of 1.1 billion, base load – the minimum power needed around the clock – is provided by coal and nuclear plants.

“We are financing a 4,000 MegaWatt coal power plant in India,” said Kjellerhaug.

“We are looking at other coal power projects in India and the South-Asian region.”

Sri Lanka’s largest privately held bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, last week entered into a loan guarantee scheme with the IFC to cover up to 50 percent downside risk on renewable energy projects in Sri Lanka.

“Even our largest banks cannot finance a coal power project in Sri Lanka,” said Gamini Dharmasiri, head of corpora