China offered to make Sri Lanka coal plant an IPP: minister

May 26, 2013 (LBO) – China offered to make a 300 MegaWatt coal fired power plant, which has been hit by a series of shutdowns, an independent power producer (IPP), a government minister said. Power sector officials have said that the frequent ‘breakdowns’ were partly due to the relative inexperience of engineers operating the plant as well as expected certain defects that were expected to crop up during the first three years of operating such a plant.

A joint venture 500 MegaWatt coal plant with India’s National Thermal Power Corporation is to be built as an IPP.

Sri Lanka’s Norochcholai power plant complex is a design build transfer (DBT) project by China Mechanical and Engineering Corporation executed for state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

It was shut down many times during after commissioning – mostly during a so-called ‘defect notification period – leading to accusations by critics that it was a sub-standard plant.

“They offered to cancel the loan and sell power to the CEB,” minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who holds the sports portfolio, told reporters in the course of defending a hike in power tariffs.

“But the engineers did not want that.”