CEB Electricity Generation Plan Not In Line With Government Policy

by Ifham Nizam

Ashoka Abeygunawardana, Chairman of the Strategic Enterprise Management Authority

The latest Sri Lanka’s Electricity Generation Expansion Plan, Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGP) 2018-2037 proposed by the state utility Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB),  is not in line with the policy of the government, the Strategic Enterprise Management Authority (SEMA) said.

The proposed energy mix for the next 20 years consists of major hydro, coal, pump storage hydro, combined cycle, oil and gas turbines.

In addition, by 2018, they plan to add 15MW of mini hydro power, 160MW of solar power 5MW of biomass, 320MW of oil based power to the national grid.The plan would also require an investment of US 14.57 billion dollars in the next 20 years to be fully implemented

“Is this the policy of Sri Lankan government?” Ashoka Abeygunawardana, Chairman of the Strategic Enterprise Management Authority queried.

He was speaking at the public consultation of Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan 2018-2037, orgernised by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator last week.

According to the LCLTGP 2018-37, the CEB plans to accommodate 28 per cent of electricity generation by Coal in 2018, 48 per cent in 2030 and 54 per cent in 2037. Contradicting to the Plan, the Manifesto of President Maithripala Sirisena clearly gives a direction  about  the government policy for the electricity sector, that CEB also should follow.

The Manifesto says, “to fulfill the basic energy requirements of the people through renewable energy sources” – Pg. 56

The manifesto has been communicated to all the government Ministries and institutions.

However, the renewable representation of the total energy generation of the LCLTGP 2018-37 is 36 per cent in 2018, 35 per cent in 2030 and 31 per cent in 2037.

Abygunawardana said that the 100 day programme of the Government has  also recognised the importance of the renewable energy and the ‘Sri Lanka energy sector development plan for a knowledge-based economy (2016- 2025)’ prepared by the Ministry of Power and Energy in 2015 has promised,

1.       To make Sri Lanka an energy self-sufficient nation by 2030

2.       Increase the share of electricity generation from renewable energy sources from 50% in 2014 to 60% by 2020 and finally to meet the total demand from renewable and other indigenous energy resources by 2030.

Abygunawardana also pointed out, the State Utility has not accommodated the additions that SooryaBala Sangramaya or Battle for Solar Energy of Government brings into the electricity generation.

Picuture – Cabinet Memorandum of Soorya Bala Sangramaya ( Battle of Solar Energy)

“Therefore , I would like to point out, that the plan prepared by CEB is clearly not in line with Government policy,” Abygunawardana said.

“ The CEB has focused on only four energy generation sources when preparing the plan and that is Fossil Oil, Coal, Natural Gas and Nuclear.They have not considered renewable as a option for the least cost method,”

“Therefore the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy are not seen in the plan. Therefore, it is clear that the CEB has not focused or has not taken any effort on generating electricity by 70 per cent through renewable energy by 2030, according to the plan of the government,” he added.

“The 30 per cent that they have added through renewable based energy is to show their sympathy towards policy planners and people.”

Abygunawardana said, the only way to achieve the government’s plan is to create an environment to develop renewable energy in Sri Laka since there is no space in the government policy to build another coal power plant in Sri Lanka. He also says that the CEB should look at the issue of the energy mix from the aspect of the climate change issue and the Paris agreement.

“The quota for renewable energy is an afterthought in this plan,”Abygunawardana said.

“The CEB is insisting on coal where as the government’s policy has “no place” for it.”

According to CEB statistics, wind power is the cheapest.

“They (CEB) say it is not an option for least cost  as it cannot be stored and that when storage costs are added to the generation cost of wind power, the costs are higher than coal,” Abygunawardana said.

“According to them (CEB) coal is the cheapest,”

“But they (CEB)have not taken into account the cost of building pump storage plants for coal. But the value the pump storage creates for coal has been taken into consideration.

If they wanted they could have added the storage cost to the renewable sources and take it as an energy generation option. There are problems with these numbers.”

“They have tried a number game to show that coal is cheaper than other energy sources,”

“A scenario of policy cost has also not been done.”

“The oil mafia is behind the push for coal. The data looks like a backward calculation to make coal and LNG look attractive.

This does not include external costs, policy cost etc. It’s a fraud. They are playing with numbers,”Abeygunawardana said.

He said,  the PUCSL has asked and recommended various steps to the CEB on previous occasions to make an electricity plan that can be implemented immediately, but have failed every time as the CEB does not adhere to them.

This ‘back and forth game’ has resulted in that no plan gets implemented on time and not a single plant is being built which results  in lower generation of electricity.

The proposed energy mix for the next 20 years consists of major hydro, coal, pump storage hydro, combined cycle, oil and gas turbines.

In addition, by 2018, they plan to add 15MW of mini hydro power, 160MW of solar power 5MW of biomass, 320MW of oil based power to the national grid. The plan would also require an investment of US 14.57 billion dollars in the next 20 years to be fully implemented.

2 Comments for “CEB Electricity Generation Plan Not In Line With Government Policy”

  1. Chamil Edirimuni

    Incidentally Twenty years back Mr. Abeygunawardene had agitated people against a big reservoir in Kukuleganga.Ultimately it ended having loosing 50 lives leaving many in desperate situation. Similarly the so called expert giving his maximum effort to avert the 20 years plan of LCLTCGEP to end the power sector in Sri Lanka. His proposals would definitely need Indo Sri Lanka HVDC transmission Line in order to prevent daily black outs and leaving the President of India to sit on the computer and press the button to stop power to SL. What we want to convey to Mr. Abeygunawardhene who has written instant noodles manifestos is that it is the same reason why this government has failed to implement effectively anything as such the manifestos are far from reality.

  2. Eng.M.V.R.Perera

    without coal fueled electricity within another 8 months our country wil be on strike even now it is not too late for countries like china ,USA, Australia, Japan ect can construct a 3×300 Mw power station within 3 years of the land required being given to them , Do not go behind the President for what he is doing in not permitting coal fueled electricity in areas like Sampoor where a EIA has being obtained contravene article 3,12,and 27 of our constitution

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