Sri Lanka to test first coal power plant by Sept: minister

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 01, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will start testing its first 300 MegaWatt coal power plant in September with plans to connect it to the national distribution grid by January 2011, power minister Patali Ranawaka said. Coal is expected to reduce the costs of power generation. The CEB is expecting to lose about 40 billion rupees in 2010.

Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board is building a 900 MegaWatt Chinese financed coal power plant on a design-build-transfer contract in Norochcholai in the north-western coast of the island. The first phase of the project is 300MW.

“We will start testing the first phase in September,” minister Ranawaka said. “We hope to commission it and connect to the grid by January 2011.”

Power secretary M M C Ferdinando said the state power utility had made the first purchase of coal from Indonesia at a price of about 70 US dollars a tonne.

Sri Lanka Shipping Corporation has been engaged for transport and with freight and insurance costs, the landed cost will be about 10 US dollars higher, he said.

Ferdinandez said Sri Lanka is buying low sulphur, low moisture coal which generate lower volumes of ash when burned, which was available from Indonesia, Australia and