Sri Lanka’s Norochcholai power plant shuts down temporarily

coal power plant

Apr 12, 2018 (LBO) – The unit one of Lakvijaya power station which is also known as the Norochcholai power station has been shut down following the release of harmful emissions from its smokestack.

The provincial environmental authority of North Western province has asked the Norochcholai plant to be shut down from yesterday evening (11/4/18), an official of the environmental Authority told Lanka Business Online.

“We hope to back and running in the next ten days by April 22 or so.” Indrajith Gallage, assistant general manager, Norochcholai power station told us.

The electrostatic precipitator (ESP) which is also called an electrostatic air cleaner of unit one has been running at a lower efficiency for about a months’ time due to the technical malfunctions.

This has caused releasing of fly from the unit one. So far the power plant has not taken necessary action to mitigate the environmental issues arisen due to malfunctioning of air quality control units.

Lakvijaya has also been running without a valid environmental protection license (EPL) since June last year. But the old one clearly specifies that particulate matter must be below 150 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/Nm3).

North Western Central Environmental Authority had earlier informed CEB to submit a technical proposal on rectifying the malfunctioning equipment of the plant.

However, LBO learns that to date CEB has not completed the technical proposal and submitted to the Environment Authority. Also, it is learnt that CEB has not taken to mitigate the environmental issues arisen due to the malfunctioning of air quality control units.

Norochcholai is the largest power station in Sri Lanka with a total capacity of 900MW.

Unit one of Norochcholai has been shut down at a very critical time where the drought prevails with the less hydro condition.

The Ceylon Electricity Board also has failed to implement the long-term least-cost generation plan 2018-37 which approved by the regulator Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) in July 2017.

The total expected financial loss due to implementation delays of 2018- 2020 plant schedule in the long-term generation expansion plan is 50.62 billion rupees and the financial loss due to any further delay beyond what is forecasted will cost 3.43 billion rupees per month, a report released by the PUCSL said.

(corrected)