With the country reeling from a crushing drought which has left millions high and dry and another breakdown of the coal power plant at Norochcholai resulting in a power crisis, the government announced that it intended to add over 750 megawatts (MW) to the national grid by 2020 by way of the construction of nine power plants.

According to Director (Development) of Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, Sulakshana Jayawardena, the said power plants include three hydro power plants (in Moragolla, Sithawaka and Yatiyantota which add approximately 86 MW), a liquefied national gas power plant (in Kerawalapitiya which adds 300 MW), three solar power plants (in Valaichchenai, Polonnaruwa and Athumale which add 120 MW), a thermal power plant (in Hambantota which adds 170 MW) and a wind power plant (in Mannar which adds 100 MW).

A move to purchase surplus power, estimated at 200 MW, by 2020 via the solar rooftop system project is also in the pipeline. Currently, the plans involving the said plants are primarily in the stages of consultation and procurement.

Managing Director of RMA Energy Consultants, Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya pointed out that the energy demand in the country had risen by 10% during the course of this year, an increase when compared with the figure for the same for 2015. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) observed that the demand for power would experience an increase of 1,200 MW towards the tail-end of the incumbent government’s term.

He observed that for a flaw in Norochcholai, which generates more than half the national de rigueur in terms of power consumption, could only be rectified and modified with a shutdown which was not a good idea in view of the prevailing drought.

The PUCSL, which is overseeing the process of power generation, said that it was the Ceylon Electricity Board that had made the proposal to construct the said new power plants.

The Commission had requested the Electricity Board for the provision of the particulars regarding the matter including those pertaining to the envisioned budgetary requirements.