Monday, 14 September 2009


Features | Online edition of Daily News - Lakehouse Newspapers <%dim dbpath, pageTle, Section, Section1 %>

Electricity for all to promote sustainable development - Power Minister

The Power and Energy Ministry is to provide electricity and meet the demand of the energy services with an affordable, reliable, diverse, safe and environmentally acceptable choice for the people of Sri Lanka. Such services are to be provided in the most economically and socially efficient manner, thereby promoting sustainable economic development for the social well-being of the country, Power Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage explained his views

Question: What is the continuous power supply in the basic foundation of sustainable development?

Answer: Energy plays the main role in the country's efforts towards its development. In order to make the development process a success, a continuous energy supply should be ensured. It is the most important factor in the designing of a development process.

At present any country uses fuels and electricity to meet its energy requirements. As every country is moving fast on its way to development, energy consumption too increases day by day. This situation results in the emergence of a competitive environment in the field of energy.

Norochcholai Coal Power Plant under construction. Picture by Sudath Silva

Fuel is used in two forms namely timber fuel and fossil fuel in today's society. The reason for the rapid decrease in timber consumption is that timber is replaced by other efficient and reliable energy sources. Deforestation which is on the increase has enforced restriction for the use of timber.

The use of fossils too would become problematic in the future. According to the estimates if fuel consumption goes in the present manner for another 40 years all the oil deposits would dwindle and unless new oil deposits are discovered the whole world would face a serious crisis.

The most efficient way of energy consumption is to convert it to electricity. The use of water as a source of electricity generation is very effective but the quantity of water usable for this purpose is very low due to human activities. So, alternative methods have to be used.

Although petroleum products are used very often, it will not be profitable any further with today's high fuel prices. The use of coal is very popular due to the estimation that coal deposits would not run out for another 250 years and its low prices in comparison to petroleum prices. Although the use of natural gas for electricity generation is environmentally friendly, when compared with the cost of gas importing countries, it is profitable to use coal for electricity generation applying the right conditions.

Countries with a higher level of electricity consumption use unclear power for electricity generation. Although it is profitable it would bring very dangerous results even for a small mistake. Establishment of petroleum powerhouses and the use of fuel for passenger transport have become the main reasons for the increase of fuel prices. Therefore, we have to concentrate on renewable methods, which are more profitable and practical. A coal-fired power plant is one such popular method.

The construction of the first coal-fired power plant at Norochcholai in order to overcome the economic crisis is in progress. For this, the Government is formulating plans to carry out the process of obtaining firewood for electricity generation known as dendra power using gliricidia or wetamara, which has been identified as a small-scale source of energy. It is a commendable effort to save at least a part of foreign exchange.

The use of energy in an efficient manner is also as equally important as the method of energy generation.

As citizens of Sri Lanka it is the responsibility of all of us to explore the means of economical energy consumption. We would be able to save a considerable amount of foreign exchange by identifying the areas where energy is wasted and take prompt remedies. For instance, it has been grossly estimated that energy wastage in the field of transportation itself is 20 percent.

If we create a well-planned road system to minimize the traffic congestion and maintain and efficient railway system, we would be able to save vast amounts of money.

It is the responsibility and duty of all of us to save energy and now is the time to open our eyes with a broad mind towards the designs formulated in the energy industry.

Question: What is the hydropower generation capacity?

Answer: The CEB Hydropower stations generated 2,755 - GWH or 34 percent of total energy demand during 2004. Hydropower came from the Mahaweli, Victoria Randenigala, Kotmale, Samanala Wewa, Laxapana, Kukuleganga power stations and three smaller hydropower stations at Inginiyagala, Udawalawe and Nilambe.

Power Minister

The upper Kotmale Hydropower plant with the reduced scope of the project confining its
activities for the main Kotmale Oya and St Clairs
Waterfall, with an installed capacity of 150MW (10 percent of the total peak demand) is now under construction

Independent Mini Hydro Power Producers generated 206 GWH or 2.6 percent of total energy demand during the year 2004. The upper Kotmale Hydropower plant with the reduced scope of the project confining its activities for the main Kotmale Oya and St Clairs Waterfall, with an installed capacity of 150MW (10 percent of the total peak demand) is now under construction.

The JBIC of Japan has provided funds for this project. The total donor contribution for the project JY 33,265 million and total government contribution is Rs. 5,952 million.

The contract of the preparatory works was signed on July 27, 2005. The contractor Maeda Corporation, Japan was mobilized at Talawakele on September 23, 2005.

A comprehensive Income Enhancement Program (IEP) has been drawn up and its implementation has already commenced. The IEP comprises three major components i.e., Occupational Skills Development Training, provision of extension services and provision of micro credit facilities through a Revolving Fund.

A total of 380 affected households have opted for different income generating activities and the project will provide necessary training and credit facilities.

Question: What is the future for Hydropower Development?

Answer: The proposed Broadland hydropower projects are located about 65 km east of Colombo and near the confluence of Maskeliya Oya and Kehelgamuwa Oya which are the main tributaries of the Kelaniya river basin. This will be located downstream of the existing Laxapana Hydropower Complex.

In 1986, a feasibility study of the above project was conducted by the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) in 2004, further study was conducted jointly by Electric Power Development Co. Ltd and Nippon Koei Co Ltd, Japan. In this study, a capacity of 35 MW was concluded as the optimum and the cost of the project excluding taxes and duties was estimated as US $ 89.34 million.

The study further revealed that no serious impact on the natural and social environment is expected with the implementation of the project. The expected annual energy generated by the project is 1,236 GWH in 2004. The CEB has requested funds from the Department of External Resources (ERD) for detailed design and implementation.

Question:What is the situation of Moragolla, Uma Oya, Ginganga Hydropower projects?

Answer: The Moragolla project is located on the Mahaweli Ganga near the Moragolla downstream of the confluence of the Kotmale Oya and upstream of the tailrace outlet of the existing Lower Kotmale hydropower scheme.

The project was earlier (in 1962) identified by the Hunting Survey Corporation of Canada. This project was studied under the Master Plan study concluded in 1989.This is a run-of-river project with 27 MW capacity and the expected annual energy of the project is 111 GWh. The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development has informed of their willingness to provide grant assistance for the feasibility study of the project.

In basin and trans-basin development are the two main proposals for Uma Oya Development.

A diversion of the Uma Oya water of the Kirindi Oya (i.e. Uma Oya trans-basin proposal) is being implemented.

The expected power generation capacity and annual energy generation are 88 MW and 175 GWh respectively.

The Ginganga Project was also identified under the master plan study concluded in 1989. The dam site is to be located on the upper Ginganga near Deniyaya town, about 1 km down stream of the confluence with a right bank tributary named Aranuwa Dola. The powerhouse is to be located 9 river kilometres downstream, at the end of a high gradient river stretch.

The expected power generation capacity and annual energy generation are 49 MW and 209 GWh respectively. The CEB had requested funds from the External Resources Department (ERD) for a feasibility study in 2004.

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