Sinister Deal Uncovered
The Sunday Leader has unearthed sinister plans by a group backed by a wheeler-dealer business conglomerate, to take over the Renewable Energy projects that have been given to the Sri Lankan private sector for development.
It is learnt that plans are afoot to take back to the government, nearly 450 Megawatts of small hydro and wind power projects, that have already been identified and feasibility studies carried out by the private sector, and these are to be given as one package to a large Chinese company, which has also offered a credit facility for this proposal.
The Principals of the Chinese company and the local agent, who had previously facilitated many similar transactions, recently met up with the local team tasked with getting these projects back to the CEB. The team which includes three former CEB senior engineers is led by a former CEB engineer who is acting as an “independent consultant”.
It is known that this consultant, whose opinion experts say, always favours the highest bidder for his services, finds his way into tariff advisory committees. He has been successful in blocking the renewable energy tariff for over two years with the support of the highest authority for energy in the island – thereby preventing these projects being implemented by the private sector.
In addition, this team has ensured significant opposition to renewable energy development providing misleading and wrong information to the political authority. Reportedly, last week the Central Bank issued a note to a committee trying to resolve the renewable energy feed-in-tariff issue saying that renewables should not be supported as it is contributing to high retail tariffs.
As part of the plan, engineers at the CEB created an independent company “Lanka Energies”, to take over and develop those projects which were abandoned by the developers. Now plans are underfoot to take this entity away from the present management, which comprises some young CEB engineers, and use this company to take over 450 MW of projects, and obtain funds for these projects.
It is also learnt that the present CEB management is vehemently opposing these plans, and the group met up recently over two days at a hotel down south, to strategize the way forward, and it is rumoured that they had also invited a leading government politico, to participate in this meeting. When contacted by The Sunday Leader the CEB denied any knowledge of such a deal.