Sri Lanka decides against more coal power

July 30, 2010 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government has decided to change its coal-based power generation plan and not go for more coal plants and instead shift towards renewable energy, power minister Patali Ranawaka said. The previous generation plan envisaged adding about 200 megawatts a year of coal based power plants, he said.

A 300MW coal power plant being built by the Chinese in north-western Puttalam is expected on come on stream before the end of the year and will later be expanded to a total of 900MW.

Another coal power plant is to be built by an Indian company in Sampur, near the north-eastern Trincomalee harbour.

“After the Sampur power plant comes by 2014 we will not go for any more coal power plants,” Ranawaka told a news conference.

“We want to exploit clean, renewable energy sources and reduce our emissions. Also, fossil fuel reserves are being exhausted.”

The short-term priority is to reduce the cost of operating expensive diesel and heavy-fuel based thermal power plants which now provide the base load power by converting to less costly fuel, he said.

Ranawaka said a US survey showed the island has a potential of about 20,000MW of wind power.

“Now our capacity is 2,500MW.