Sri Lanka to have two hour power cuts

July, 23 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will have two hour power cuts daily, the first in over a decade, following the outage of a 300 MegaWatt coal plant that generated about 20 percent of the daily energy needs of the country. Industry analysts say it could be run a so-called ‘merchant plant’ if the firm does not hold out for a fixed capacity charge. As a merchant plant, or a smaller capacity charge it would be cheaper to operate than CEB’s gas turbines.

Update II A schedule for power cuts are expected to be announced later Monday by state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), until two large plants are brought on line,

Sri Lanka’s only coal plant generated about 5.9-6.0 GigaWatt hours (millions of units) of energy a day or about 20 percent of the country’s daily requirement of 30-32 GWh.

Though Sri Lanka has a large hydro generation reserve, water levels are down to about 26 percent of total amid the worst drought in a decade and the plants are needed for a night peak.

The outage of coal plant was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as two other large thermal plants are also out. A 270MW heavy fuel combined cycle plant in Kerawalapitiya is only running its 170MW ‘open cycle’ or gas turbine compone